Eating with the seasons

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There’s nothing like fresh fruit and vegetables at their seasonal best. But did you know that eating seasonal fruit and veg has a big impact on your health, community and back pocket?

These days, many of us buy the same fruit and veggies all year round. We’re used to having tomatoes in the winter, even if they are a pale, pricey and less tasty than in summer.

Although switching to seasonal eating habits can be challenging, it provides a lot of rewards.

Here are five great reasons to get seasonal.

1. Flavour

When grown locally and in season, fruit and veg are picked at their peak ripeness. Produce that is transported a long distance has to be harvested early which doesn’t allow the taste or nutrients to fully develop. Out of season fruit and veg is grown in greenhouses which also affects the taste.

2. Variety

Eating a variety of different foods helps your body consume the full spectrum of essential nutrients needed for health and vitality. It also adds interest to your diet, giving you the opportunity to try new things when your favourite fruit and veg comes back into season.

3. Nutritional value

Many vitamins and nutrients found in produce start to deplete as soon as they’re harvested. Local food means there is less time between harvest and your table, so there’s less chance the nutrient value has decreased. Produce that is available out of season has generally been stored for long periods or shipped from other countries to ensure a steady supply year round.

4. Price

Seasonal produce is cheaper as there is an abundance available. Buying local also means you don’t pay for the transportation and storage which tends to be included in the cost of out of season foods.   

5. Environment

Purchasing locally grown foods reduces your carbon footprint, as it hasn’t travelled nearly as far as out of season produce. It also helps maintain local farmlands in your community. 

At the Y, we want to make the healthy choice the easy choice. That’s why over the next two years we’re rolling out our Healthy Food and Beverage Policy. Many healthy choices are fresh foods, so we always welcome new ways we can incorporate local and seasonal foods into our menus. Feel free to speak with our café staff next time you’re in centre.

This article was developed by nutritionist and YMCA Victoria Health Promotion Officer, Alethea Jerebine.