Eat Naturally with the Seasons!
Many people turn to packaged, processed food for their healthy choices out of convenience and wanting the next new super food! Nature doesn’t have a big advertising budget to promote it’s goodness, so Mother Nature needs our help to spread the word about her healthy food to kitchens across the country. When I first started HealthBarn USA I was probably eating 40% fresh and 60% processed foods (cereals, crackers, energy bars, pasta, etc). By shopping locally at farmers’ markets and growing and cooking my own food at the Barn, I’m now eating 95% fresh and 5% processed. This way of eating has exponentially reflected well on my health each year during my annual doctor check-ups despite my family history of diabetes and heart disease. Making the shift from processed to fresh is easier than you think when you get informed about eating seasonally!
Seasonal foods are harvested when they’re ripe and at their peak, in terms of freshness, flavor, and nutrients. Timing is everything, right? Eating a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables gives you major health benefits. They provide your body with a higher content of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. Researchers have reported that in-season fruits and vegetables may have up to three times more nutrients compared to out-of-season foods!
In addition to good nutrition, seasonal foods are affordable. They’re typically less expensive because they are usually locally grown, come in abundance and require less transportation. All of these factors make local season eating good for the environment, too! It truly is a win-win situation all around. Gain more nutrients, spend less money and be good to the planet, too!
Here are some of the Northeast’s fresh picks during the autumn months. Let’s give thanks for these in-season fruits and vegetables for nurturing us, boosting the immune system to make you strong for the upcoming winter months!
Apples: Yum! They’re full of fiber and vitamin C. Great for our immune and digestive systems;
Asian Pears: Juicy, crisp, and golden! A good source of fiber and potassium;
Butternut Squash: high in beta carotene that gives your immune system a delicious boost;
Carrots: super sweet root veggie loved by everyone, it high in beta carotene to boost the immune system;
Cauliflower: Contains phytochemicals and other plant sterols that have anti-cancer properties;
Collards: A nutrient-boost full of vitamin A and vitamin C to protect against potential cell damage;
Cranberries: High in vitamin C for a healthy immune system;
Garlic: Anti-inflammatory benefits and even helps lower total cholesterol;
Kale: a super veggie high in antioxidants and fiber to boost your immune system;
Pumpkins: Great source of vitamin A and fiber. Good for our eyes, lungs and our digestive system;
Raspberries: Contains important antioxidants and contains a tremendous amount of vitamin C;
Spinach: high in lutein, an antioxidant, and fiber to boost the immune system;
Sweet Potatoes: high in beta carotene that gives your immune system a delicious boost;
Swiss chard: A must-have super food! Contains a substantial amount of vitamins K, A, and C. Vitamin K helps our blood clot and is good for bone health.
Eating with the seasons gives you the opportunity to try different varieties of fruits and vegetables, which means you consume a greater range of nutrients that your body needs. So let’s support our local farmers and indulge in nature’s gifts to us… while they’re in season!
What’s your ratio of fresh to processed foods?
– Stacey Antine, MS, RD, author, Appetite for Life, founder, HealthBarn USA, director, HealthBarn Foundation, and recognized as top 10 dietitians nationally by Today’s Dietitian magazine for her work with HealthBarn USA.