Eating veggies for the seasons (plus 4 budget saver tips)
When it comes to health, variety is key. Eating with the seasons may prevent you from falling into a dreaded food-rut as you’re not cooking the same recipes again and again.
Your diet naturally varies as the seasons change, helping you to eat a mix of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants with each new month. A hearty, pumpkin soup is perfect for winter while fresh, juicy tomatoes on bruschetta is ideal in summer.
What are the benefits of eating seasonally?
Not only is seasonal eating a healthier approach, helping to keep your diet varied, exciting and nutrient-dense, but it can also save you money at the checkout. When eating seasonal produce, you’re likely to snag many great discounts.
You might find trays of mangoes selling for a steal or a kilogram of brussel sprouts for just a few dollars. When food is grown locally, it tends to travel fewer kms to make it to your plate, helping to keep the cost of goods down - while also being great news for the environment.
Then there’s the all-important aspect of taste to consider. Anecdotally, many people say they prefer the taste of produce that’s in season - perhaps because it’s perfectly ripe and grown in the best conditions for the plant to thrive.
How to eat seasonally
Eating with the seasons isn't tricky and you don't need to have the knowledge of a farmer or become a health nut to know the best seasonal picks each month.
Here are some simple tricks to help you eat with the seasons so you can save money.
- Look for produce on sale
Budget-shoppers might already know that cheaper produce suggests it’s in season, while more expensive fruits and veggies tend to be imported (and therefore, may be priced higher).
- Check it’s ‘Grown in Australia’
You can see which country the produce was grown in on the price tag. Choosing Aussie produce is not only a great way to buy in season, you’ll also be supporting our awesome local Aussie farmers, while benefiting the environment and saving you hard earned dollars.
- Do a quick flick or scroll
The Woolworths Fresh Ideas magazine often features seasonal produce and shares easy and often family-friendly ways to try them at home. If you're still not sure what's in season, Google can help you get the seasonal low down with a swipe of a finger.
Budget-saving tips for buying veggies in season
Don’t believe anyone who tells you healthy eating is too expensive! Truth is that healthy eating can be cheaper with a few smart shopping and kitchen habits.
1. Buy in bulk
Who doesn’t love a sale? When there’s a tray of fruit or a bundle of veggies at a cheap price, buy up big. Cook it up and freeze in portion-sized containers (so you don’t have to defrost the whole thing).
2. Make friends with the freezer
When in season, juice limes or lemons and freeze the juice in ice-cube trays.
Avocados can also be frozen, perfect to add to smoothies - as are baby spinach leaves that are on their last legs. Tomatoes also freeze really well. Smash or blitz in a food processor.
Add herbs and spices or freeze without any additions in zip lock bags or airtight containers.
When the more luxe fruit is in season like berries, mangoes, peaches etc, chop-up and freeze so you can enjoy nutritious smoothies and one-ingredient sorbets year-round.
3. Create an ‘eat now’ tray for your fridge
Place any produce that needs to be eaten soon in the tray (which lives in the fridge). Each time you open the fridge, use the food in the ‘eat now’ tray first. Make an omelette, salad or freeze it to help save you dollars on food waste.
4. Master meal prep
It’s official. Soups are cool again (or are they ‘hot’ again)? Either way, it’s a good idea to make big batches of soup using your seasonal autumn and winter produce.
Come Monday, you’ll be grateful for ready access to a cheap-and-cheerful meal that’ll be perfect for meat-free Mondays.
Soups also make for great healthy work lunches or can be frozen for back-up meals.
Reviewed by the healthylife Advisory Board August 3, 2021