seasonal eating…

Since produce is available to us year round, it can be difficult trying to understand what is actually in season and what is not.  Of course you should always look for ripe, fresh fruits and vegetables, however you might want to check with your local grocer to see what is the perfect food for each season.  But until then…..here is a simple guide to help get you started…

FALL FOODS

winter squash (acorn, butternut, buttercup, delicata, hubbard, kabocha)

apples

beets

belgian endive

brussels sprouts

cranberries

figs

grapes

mushrooms

parsnips

pears

pomegranates

pumpkin  

sweet potatoes

swiss chard

WINTER FOODS

chestnuts

grapefruit

kale

leeks

lemons

oranges/tangerines

radicchio

radishes

rutabaga

turnips

SPRING FOODS

apricots

artichokes

asparagus

avocados

carrots

cherries

chicory

chives

collards

dandelion greens

fennel

mangoes

mustard greens

new potatoes

peas

rhubarb

spinach

spring lettuces

strawberries

sugar, snap and snow peas

watercress

SUMMER FOODS

bell peppers

blackberries

blueberries

raspberries

broccoli

corn

cucumbers

eggplant

green beans

nectarines

okra

peaches

pineapples

plums

summer squash

tomatoes

watermelon

zucchini

HEY, WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?:

  • healthier
  • cost effective
  • enjoy a greater variety
  • better for the environment
  • very delicious!

According to Esther Blum, author of Eat, Drink and Be Gorgeous: A Nutritionist’s Guide to Living Well While Living It Up, fresh food is also the most nutritious. And that nutritional boost might pay off under the mistletoe: “When your diet is naturally richer in vitamins and minerals then you are going to increase your chances of beating a cold and keeping your immune system solid through the holiday party season,” says Blum.

Yummm!!!  That’s good enough for me!!

phyto…what?

Did you know there are over two thousand known phytonutrientswhich are active substances that give fruits and vegetables their color, flavor, smell and natural disease resistance?  Our phytonutrient consumption is associated with reduced rates of many different cancers.  Think color!  Think the rainbow!!  Blueberries, oranges, lemons, herbs, carrots….there are so many different choices to consider.

According to Dr. Don Colbertphytonutrients in fruits and vegetables can be grouped according to color.  Each group has it’s own set of unique protective benefits.

  • Orange: carrots, mangoes, cantaloupes, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, yams, squash, and apricots all have carotenoids, which help prevent cancer and heart disease.
  • Red:  tomatoes, watermelon, guava, red grapefruit, all contain a powerful carotenoid called lycopene, linked to prevention of heart disease and prostate cancer.
  • Red/Purple:  blueberries, blackberries, hawthorn berries, raspberries, grapes, eggplants, red cabbage and red wine contain a powerful flavonoid called anthocyanidin, which contains approximately 50 times the antioxidant activity of vitamin C and 20 times more powerful than vitamin E.
  • Orange/Yellow:  oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes, yellow grapefruit, papaya, pineaple and nectarines are rich in vitamin C and protect us against free-radical damage.
  • Yellow/Green:  Spinach, kale, collards, mustard greens, turnip greens, romaine lettuce, leeks and peas are typically rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which reduces the risk of macular degeneration.
  • Green:  broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, watercress, bok choy, kale, collard greens, and mustard greens are considered cruciferous vegetables with anti-cancer properties.

Remember, living foods exist in a raw or close-to-raw state and can make your eyes sparkle, your hair shine, and a glow to your skin!  Who doesn’t want that??

It’s time to take back our food choices and how we eat them so we can become vibrant, healthy people!  Now is the time!