Eating Seasonally Has Big Health Benefits

This is a favorite time of year for eating seasonally. Building all my meals on the foundation of fresh produce is my passion. My apron reminds me and everyone in my kitchen that Real Food Heals. When we eat fresh, real food as our main source of calories and pleasure, our bodies respond and we thrive. This is a basic tenant of my work as a health coach. It’s also been my main message to my hungry kids! “Fill at least half your plate with produce.”

eating seasonally

Eating seasonally also means eating quality produce

Eating more nutritious real food means eating seasonally. I’m a big fan of organic produce which means that harvesting my groceries close to home is ideal. My favorite recipes do not call for preservatives and organics fit these criteria. Local food resources change during the year. We each need to find our best resources for seasonal eating.

Eating food in season began for me in the 1970s, and later, it was renewed in my health coaching education. As a coaching student, I ran across Dr. John Douillard, an Ayurvedic practitioner in Colorado. His emphasis on seasonal eating as a treatment for many chronic illnesses has been a game-changer for me as a home cook and health coach! He offers us all a free, 12-month 3-Season Diet Challenge. Its purpose is to build health by helping our bodies interact with nature.

The 3-Season Diet aligns our desires with the foods that nature has provided in season for thousands of years. In the winter, we naturally crave soups, nuts, warm grains, and other high fat and protein foods such as meat and fish. In the spring, we want salads, berries, and leafy greens — a naturally low-fat diet. And in the summer, when the days are long and hot, we require cooling and high-energy foods such as fruits and vegetables, which are a naturally available high carbohydrate diet.

Dr. John Douillard

Adapting food choices for Fall and Winter

In summertime 2021, a huge variety of organic produce will again be available to almost every town and community. Summer is the season for fresh salads and juicy fruits. When the weather cools down and we move toward wintertime in the U.S., our options change. The human body evolved to allow for these seasonal changes. Eating seasonally allows our bodies to interact in harmony with our changing environment. As I write, we’re now entering the “rest and restore” time of year! I, for one, am more than ready.

Seasonal food choices are important for all of us. Families with unlimited grocery budgets — as well as those who need a little food purchasing help — appreciate quality foods. My coaching clients include families on all budget levels. Some of my most passionate home cooking clients receive help from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP. That is why I like to share resources from the SNAP-Ed organization.

SNAP provides families with their basic nutritional needs to get them through temporary hard times.

This program helps people get back on their feet and on the road to a better life — in 2015, SNAP lifted 4.6 million Americans above the poverty line, including 2 million children and 366,000 seniors. SNAP is absolutely critical to making sure no one in America goes hungry. There is great need in the U.S. in 2020 for food assistance.

The SNAP-Ed program encourages its community to eat seasonally.

Do you have favorite Fall and Winter dishes that your family already knows and loves?

Depending upon what produce items you brought home this week, a favorite family recipe may already be in mind. Alternatively, you may be wondering how to prepare the two pounds of carrots or some other vegetable tonight. For many people, having a plan for fresh produce is the trickiest part. Without a plan, those lovely beets and bell peppers are forgotten. With a plan, better health starts at home.

That’s an exciting part of seasonal eating! As the days and weeks continue, different produce items become available. That means home cooking requires a little creativity. Working with what’s on hand is a hallmark of a healthy lifestyle. Instead of buying a frozen, manufactured food item, we can all do better. Using fresh produce purchased this week and a few simple cooking skills, we can receive the benefit of this eating style. As the seasons unfold, everyone around your kitchen table expands their food preferences.

Recipes for Plant-based Eating the Easy Way

I’ve located a wonderful resource for plant-based recipes for the Fall. As apples, pumpkins, squash, sweet potatoes, and other delicious fruits and vegetables come into season, this Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is here to help.

Try out their Breakfast Sweet Potato Pudding or a delicious Breakfast Apple Crisp. For chilly nights, how about an Autumn Stew or Lentil Pumpkin Curry? I know my family especially loves Pumpkin Spice Bread.

Our seasonal eating goals and action steps are a fun way to make the most out of this Stay Safer at Home season of our American lives. Sending you and yours my very best…

#eatingseasonally #holistichealthcoach #plantbased