Congratulations! You’ve made it out of winter and, if you’re like me, are feeling energised and hopeful with the optimism and beauty that spring brings with it.
To reflect the changing environment around us, we may like to consider eating seasonally to align with nature’s changing bounty. Eating what’s in season has many benefits for your health, your wallet, and for the planet.
What is eating seasonally?
A modern food system means that we have a wide array of foods available to us at our local supermarket year-round. However, this is a new phenomenon and doesn’t reflect the way our ancestors ate.
Essentially, eating seasonally refers to choosing fresh produce which is ready for eating in the season it is naturally available. While there’s nothing terribly wrong with eating out of season, you can reap additional benefits and do some good in the world if you eat seasonally.
Your Health. Paying attention to the fruits and vegetables that are in season will prompt you to try new foods. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is healthy; a diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables is even better! Not only will you be nourishing your body with the essential nutrients it needs to perform at its peak, studies show long-term benefits too, such as reduced risk of chronic disease and better quality of life and longevity.  Your gut will thank you too – a varied diet rich in wholefoods feeds your gut microbiome and promotes the diversity of the bugs which are housed in your gut.
Your Wallet. Eating out of season is more expensive, as there are costs associated with transporting and storing foods which are not typically available at that time of year. Sticking to fresh produce which is in season means saving money on your grocery bill, too.
Tip: On a budget but want to enjoy out of season fruit and veg? Choose frozen or canned fruits and vegetables rather than fresh. These are usually cheaper and have a similar or superior nutrition profile to out of season fresh produce.
Your Planet. Sustainable living is not just the way of the future. If we want a future, it’s what we should be thinking about right now. Eating seasonally is much more environmentally friendly, since the transport and storage requirements of seasonal foods tend to be lower. In season produce that’s also produced locally wins extra brownie points as it has the lowest environmental impact. Treat yourself to the produce at a local farmer’s market and enjoy the additional benefits of contributing to local economy while saving the planet.
What’s in season for Spring in Melbourne?
Fruit: bananas, berries, grapefruit, lemons, lime, mandarins, strawberries.
Vegetables: globe artichokes, asparagus, beans, broad beans, beetroot, broccoli, capsicum, carrots, cauliflower, chillies, cucumbers, leeks, lettuce, onions, parsley, parsnip, peas, snow peas, potatoes, rhubarb, silverbeet, spinach, spring onion, squash, zucchini. 
 National Health and Medical Research Council (2013) Australian Dietary Guidelines Summary. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council.
 Adapted from http://seasonalfoodguide.com/melbourne-victoria-seasonal-fresh-produce-guide-fruits-vegetables-in-season-availability-australia.html
Dietitian MDiet BHSc