There’s nothing quite like biting into juicy, fresh-off-the-vine tomatoes, layering perfectly ripe avocado on toast, or slicing into a fresh kiwi. When it’s in season, produce simply tastes better. If you’re new to seasonal eating, welcome. Ultimately, knowing which fruits and veggies are in season will help guide your shopping list. And this has benefits for your body, your mind, your wallet—and the planet at large. Luckily, this time of year brings forth quite a variety of fruits and vegetables to savor. Without further ado, let’s dive into how to eat seasonally in the spring. There’s no better time to embrace late-winter’s blustery weather with nutritious comfort food.
Mother Nature knows best
With March (almost) underway, the weather, harvests, and microbes are making dramatic changes. Transition is happening. Winter microbes that were geared for digesting heavier foods are transitioning to microbes that will facilitate natural weight loss, stable mood, and renewed energy. Mother Nature knows best. To make the most of this transition, consider everything from how you can detox your home to where you are in your menstrual cycle. Establishing a connection to nature’s powerful cycles begins within you. What can you upcycle, recycle, or change in your life to welcome spring’s renewal? As you navigate this transition—from a dietary perspective—opt for switching up your grocery basket.
WHAT IS SEASONAL EATING?
It’s a sustainable way of eating—with a variety of health benefits. This lifestyle encourages you to focus on fruits and vegetables in season (for your geographic area, specifically). There are many reasons to eat with the seasons. After all, when foods are grown out of season, they can’t follow their natural growing and ripening rhythms. In order for certain fruits and vegetables to be available year-round, ripening agents are used. These include chemicals, gases, and heat processes. If you want berries in the winter, instead of opting for conventional berries (sprayed with pesticides), grab a bag of frozen organic berries instead! Mix them into yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies, or make homemade berry jam.
Benefits of eating with the seasons
Food in season tastes better. And it’s cheaper. Citrus hits different in the winter. Juicy tomatoes are summer’s candy. You get the gist. Naturally-ripened fruits and vegetables—grown and picked in season—are typically full of flavor and nutrients. Eating seasonally also reduces the demand for out-of-season produce, which further supports more local produce and supports local farming. In turn, this requires less transportation, less refrigeration, and more. Ultimately, there are many benefits of eating with the seasons.
1. seasonal Produce is a nutritional powerhouse fresh and flavorful
There’s no denying that produce that is grown in season tastes amazing. It’s fully ripened and harvested at just the right time to make it from the farm to your hand without spoiling. With seasonal eating, you can also reap the rewards of more nutritionally-dense ingredients. Seasonal produce is picked at peak development. With optimal growing conditions and more sun exposure come higher levels of antioxidants—such as Vitamin C, folate, and beta-Carotene.
2. It support your body’s natural nourishment rhythms
Before the development of technology and transportation, our ancestors could only eat what vegetables, fruits, and leafy greens were flourishing in that particular season. Designed with purpose, the natural cycle of crops and produce is meant to support our nutritional needs—for the season of life at hand. Leafy greens in the spring help us alkalize our bodies and facilitate detoxification. Hydrating foods like watermelon, berries, and cucumber keep us hydrated in summer’s heat. Winter squashes and root veggies are key ingredients for grounding stews and soups during the winter.
3. It’s better for the earth
When you purchase foods in season, the produce will be less likely to be subjected to heavy doses of pesticides and herbicides. Not to mention, these toxic compounds deplete the soil, contaminate the water and cause problems with our health. Also, buying seasonal causes you to inadvertently support local farmers in your area. Local produce inevitably means less transportation, less forced ripening, less refrigeration, and fewer chemicals.
4. You can save money
For a simple economics lesson: when there is an abundance of a certain crop, the cost will be much lower. Also, local farmers won’t have extensive travel or storage costs when produce is in season. All of these factors drive down the price we see at the store!
how to eat seasonally in the spring
Hello, leafy greens, cilantro, radishes, asparagus, cabbages, broccoli, and cauliflower. Spring eating never tasted so good.
Honor temperature shifts
No matter where you live, spring’s arrival is typically sporadic. A few days of warm spring air may be followed by a week of cold winter weather. In the early transition from winter to spring weather, follow the natural desire and to eat warmer soups and stews, root veggies and heavier foods during the cold spells, and switch to spinach salads and lighter fare like veggie broth soups and cooked veggies during the days of spring weather.
Cook your greens
If you aren’t accustomed to eating many greens, be sure to cook them! For greens like bok choy, spinach, and kale, either sauté or roast them. Just like fruit, whole vegetables have a lot of fiber. Once they’re cooked, the fiber will be partially broken down and easier to digest—this is helpful for vegetable-eating newbies.
Drink ginger tea
Swap out hearty grains
Spring is naturally a grain-free season, as these foods are traditionally not harvested until fall. If you feel inclined, reduce your portions of hearty grains, like oats and pastas. These can be nourishing foods, but in terms of how to eat seasonally in the spring, swap hearty grains with other complex carbohydrates, like beans, beets, and carrots.
Opt for raw honey
Focus on lower-glycemic sugar (or unrefined sugar, like this raw honey). In the spirit of taking a lighter approach—that will also help balance blood sugar—be mindful of your sugar intake. Spring is a great time to take a step back from heavy winter desserts and opt for more refreshing, lower-sugar options (like my lemon poppyseed bread!).
Lean into the kapha body type
If you’re a kapha body type, spring is the most important time of year to watch your diet. Eating seasonally in the spring can reset digestion, stimulate fat burning, and build stable energy for the year ahead.
Honor your appetite
Of course, this is always important! But for many, appetite naturally begins to wane during the spring months. Unlike winter, where hunger may have been incessant, spring boosts natural fat metabolism that decreases cravings, hunger, and appetite. Tune into your true hunger to help you feel energized, satiated, and vibrant!
Ritualize your supplement routine
Hone in on gut health
Many bitter roots (harvested in the spring) help to boost liver function, scrub the intestinal villi, strengthen immunity, and create a healthy environment for new spring microbes to proliferate. Baby microgreens—like sprouts—are loaded with nutrients, feeding intestinal microbes and supporting healthy gut bacteria. Last but not least, spring fruits are incredible nourishing. Berries and cherries are rich in antioxidants, helping transform the gut.
THE 7 BEST SEASONAL EATING COOKBOOKS
Below are the best seasonal eating cookbooks!
Images courtesy of Unsplash.
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This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and we recommend that you always consult with your healthcare provider.