How to Eat Seasonably as a Family

Group of students gardening

As we become more conscious about the health of our planet and what we’re eating, eating seasonably has become a hot topic. Eating seasonably benefits our environment and nature and offers numerous benefits to our health and local economies. 

At St Peter’s Prep, our private school in Devon, we encourage the idea of seasonably eating by supporting local produce ingredients for our school meals and teaching children about growing plants in gardening club. In this guide, we explore exactly what seasonable eating is, its benefits, and how to start eating seasonably as a family. 

What Exactly is Seasonably Eating?

Eating seasonably, or seasonal eating refers to consuming foods that are naturally harvested and available during a specific time of the year. It involves aligning your diet with the natural growing seasons of various fruits, vegetables, and other agricultural products. 

Seasonal eating is often associated with locally sourced and fresh produce that is at its peak in terms of flavour, nutritional value, and affordability during a particular season. For example in the UK, summer may offer a bounty of fresh greens and strawberries, while autumn might bring an abundance of pumpkins and apples. 

Children planting vegetables

How to Start Eating Seasonably as a Family?

Transitioning to seasonal eating as a family is a rewarding and achievable experience, as long as you know how. Here are some practical steps you can take on how to eat seasonably as a family:

Educate Yourself

Begin by learning about the seasons and the types of produce typically available during each season. Think about the meals you and your family enjoy and how you can incorporate seasonal eating into them.

Visit Farmers’ Markets Together

Explore local farmers’ markets to find fresh, seasonal produce directly from local growers. These markets often showcase a variety of fruits, vegetables, and other produce that are in season, and it’s an excellent way for children to learn about what grows during each season.

Join a Community Supported Agriculture Programme (CSA):

CSA programmes allow families to subscribe to a local farm and receive regular shipments of seasonal produce. This is a great way to access a variety of locally grown, fresh foods. 

Plan Set Meals

Create a weekly or monthly meal plan that aligns with the season. Tailor your recipes based on the produce that’s readily available during that time, incorporating fruits and vegetables that are in abundance.

Involve the Family

Involving your children in cooking meals will allow them to learn what seasonable eating is all about. You can make choosing seasonal foods a family activity, fostering a connection to food choices and seasonal variety.

Grow Your Own

This is a great way to get all the family involved! Consider starting a small home garden to grow your favourite fruits, vegetables, or herbs. This hands-on experience can deepen your understanding of seasonal cycles and provide a sense of accomplishment.

4 Easy Plants for Children to Grow

What Are the Benefits of Eating Seasonably?

Eating seasonably has numerous benefits, including health, environmental sustainability, support for local economies, and much more. 

1. Nutritional Value

Seasonal produce is often harvested at its peak ripeness, resulting in maximum flavour and nutritional content. Fruits and vegetables that ripen naturally can offer higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants compared to those picked prematurely and transported over long distances.

Student holding a growing plant

2. Taste and Flavour

Seasonal foods tend to be fresher and more flavourful. The proximity of the harvest to the point of those eating it ensures that the produce retains its natural taste, enhancing the overall flavour of your meals!

3. Cost-effective

When food is in season, it’s typically more abundant, leading to lower prices. Buying fruits and vegetables when in season is more cost-effective, making it an economical choice for those with young families. 

4. Environmental Impact

Eating seasonably supports sustainability by reducing the carbon footprint associated with food transportation. Consuming locally sourced and in-season produce decreases the need for long-distance shipping, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting a more environmentally friendly food system.

5. Diverse Diet

Embracing seasonal eating encourages a diverse and varied diet. Different seasons offer various foods, promoting a well-rounded and nutritionally balanced diet. 

6. Supports Local Farmers

Choosing seasonal and locally grown foods supports local farmers and strengthens regional economies. This direct support fosters a sense of community and ensures we, the people who eat it, have a closer connection to our food sources.

7. Connection to Nature

Adopting this way of eating also fosters a connection to nature. It encourages an awareness of the changing seasons, helping families appreciate nature’s rhythm and the uniqueness of each time of the year.

8. Reduced Preservatives

Seasonal produce often requires fewer preservatives because it’s intended for shorter storage periods, contributing to a more natural and minimally processed diet.

By gradually incorporating the steps of this guide into your family’s lifestyle, you can make the shift towards eating seasonably a seamless and enjoyable experience. 

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