Spring into eating more seasonal fruits and vegetables

The arrival of warm spring weather is a great reminder of the importance of eating with the seasons for optimum health and wellness. When it comes to healthy eating and sticking to a budget you can save money by buying fruits and vegetables that are in season. Produce that is in season is more likely to be from local sources and often does not have to travel as far as out of season produce. For example, strawberries that are in season may come from local farms, but out of season strawberries may come from as far away as South America. The further the produce has to be shipped the more expensive it may be. It is also important to keep in mind that produce picked in season generally has more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than food that is harvested before it is ripe and shipped long distances.

There is nothing quite like biting into a freshly picked apple on a beautiful, brisk fall day or the sweet and juicy summer peach you get from the local farm stand. There are many more benefits to eating seasonal produce than fresh taste and better nutrition. Eating seasonally and picking locally grown produce is good for the environment because there is less use of natural resources for shipping and this can help reduce your carbon footprint. It is also good for local farmers. In fact, visiting farmer’s markets is a great way to eat in season and support local farmers.

Fruits and vegetables that are in season in the spring include:

  • apricots
  • artichokes
  • asparagus
  • broccoli
  • collard greens
  • fava beans
  • fennel
  • honeydew melon
  • limes
  • mango
  • mustard greens
  • oranges
  • pineapple
  • rhubarb
  • spinach
  • strawberries
  • and Swiss chard

It is important to remember that you can enjoy the taste of fruits and vegetables year round by buying them fresh, frozen or canned. It all counts towards your daily fruit and vegetable intake. This may mean that fresh produce is purchased in season and all other produce is purchased either frozen or canned.

Katie Kissane, MS, RD