Summertime has arrived! School’s out, temperatures are hot and…the farmer’s market is open! The perfect Saturday morning outing comes equipped with local vendors, fresh produce and maybe even fresh coffee. It’s no secret that eating seasonally is beneficial not only for your health but for your finances as well. Somehow though, the summer farmer’s market brings this year round truth back into focus.
The main health benefit of buying seasonal produce is that you get exposure to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables therefore increasing your intake of vitamins and minerals. Financially, seasonal produce is cheaper. And who doesn’t want that? Let’s look at what foods are popular in which season and then discuss how we can implement this into our dietetics practice!
Spring - artichokes, asparagus, chives, fava beans, green onions, leeks, lettuce, parsnips, peas, radishes, rhubarb, Swiss chard
Summer- berries, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, figs, grapes, green beans, melons, peppers, stone fruit (apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums), summer squash, tomatoes, zucchin
Fall- apples, Brussels sprouts, dates, hard squash (acorn, butternut, spaghetti), pears, pumpkin, sweet potatoes
Winter- bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, citrus fruit (clementines, grapefruit, lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines), collard greens, endive, leafy greens (collard, kale, mustard, spinach), root vegetables (beets, turnips)
Now, how can we as dietitians put this knowledge into practice in new and interesting ways? Here are a few ideas I have.
· Community Education- Ask your local Parks and Recreation Department if you can set up a table or booth at your local farmer’s market advocating for seasonal eating. This would be a great way to get good face to face contact with your community and give them an immediate opportunity to put their newfound knowledge into practice.
· Clinical Education- Highlight seasonal eating through a “Recipe of the Week.” This would involve getting preauthorization from your FSM and/or CDM but would be a great way to educate both staff and patients on what is in season.
· Home Education- If you are an RD and a parent, exploring seasonal eating is a great way for you to boost your child’s exposure to fruits and vegetables. Allow them to get involved and pick a particular fruit or vegetable to try each week. Find a kid free recipe and let them help prepare it to get them even more involved!
I hope this week’s blog post has been helpful! Get out in the community and shop your local market this weekend. And check out the recipe page for a great summertime recipe!