“Would you like soup or salad?”
Have you ever noticed that when you’re ordering a dinner entrée, grabbing lunch on the go, or planning your meals for the week your preferences change with the seasons?
This natural, often unconscious, tendency is called eating with the seasons.
For example, in the spring we may crave leafy greens, asparagus and fiddlehead ferns. Fresh, and in season, these greens may help release some of the extra “winter weight” we may be carrying.
In the summer, our fridge might be packed with berries, sliced watermelon and cucumbers. These foods help us stay cool and hydrated.
As the air turns crisp, we may find ourselves moving away from raw fruits and vegetables in favor of cooked, warming foods such as soups and stews, roasted vegetables, and meats cooked low and slow.
Some believe this natural cycle of eating is designed to support our health and the body’s natural healing process.
Our science takes this one step further. We believe that when you combine seasonal foods with your personalized food list, you give your body the support it needs.
Seasonal food is fresh, full of flavor and more nutritious than food eaten when it is out of season.
For example, it may be tempting to grab a container of strawberries every time you grocery shop. However, the best time to buy and eat strawberries is when they are in season. This is when they can be purchased or picked directly from your local berry farm.
Why? Strawberries that are grown locally are fresher. They do not have to travel from state to state before being stacked on a grocery store display. And because they are picked when they are at their ripest, they taste better and contain more nutrients.
It’s fairly simple to eat for the spring and summer seasons—when gardens are overflowing and farmers markets are buzzing.
Despite the fact that pumpkin flavor is infused into almost everything, it can be a challenge to eat seasonally in the fall. Especially when some of the most plentiful, and nutritious, produce is unfamiliar or doesn’t look all that appetizing.
Here are 5 easy tips to help you embrace the fruits and vegetables that are freshest in fall:
1. Take a look at your personalized food list and nutritional recommendations outlined in your report.
Compare your list and your report with the following fall staples:
Apples, beets, brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, parsnips, pears, pumpkins and sweet potatoes. In addition to butternut squash, a fan favorite, other varieties of squash such as spaghetti and acorn are also in season.
Most of these vegetables, especially brussels sprouts, cauliflower and acorn squash taste delicious roasted in olive oil with a touch of salt and pepper. Pumpkin, sweet potatoes and butternut squash blend beautifully into soups. Roasted spaghetti squash with meat sauce is a flavorful and nutrient packed substitute for pasta if you’re trying to cut back on simple carbs.
2. Depending on where you live, most farmers markets stay open through October. Stop by as the seasons change to get a better sense of what’s local to you. Don’t be afraid to pick up something new. And don’t be shy. Ask the vendors how they prepare the produce you’ve always steered clear of or been too intimidated to cook.
3. To help you stay warm, cook with a variety of healthy fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil, walnut oil and ghee. Stock up on the spices that are known for their warming properties such as cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, mustard seed, ginger, clove and fennel.
4. Roasting a chicken or cooking a ham? Save the bones and make homemade soup. Not only does it freeze well, but when you make it you can control the ingredients. This is especially important when it comes to the amount of sodium which can be high in the soup that comes in a can.
5. Don’t forget your greens! Add swiss chard, collards, kale and spinach to your soups and stews. Greens are packed with the nutrients our bodies need to stay healthy—especially during cold and flu season!
Root vegetables such as carrots and parsnips are abundant this time of year. But it can be easy to get in a root vegetable rut of always boiling or steaming them.
Instead, try turning them into fries:
Baked Rosemary Root Vegetable Fries
Time: 40 minutes, Servings: 4
Baked Rosemary Root Vegetable Fries
Time: 15 minutes, Servings: 4
Just remember, before you eat for the season, it’s important to know how to eat for your genes. Order your personalized nutrition report and food list here.