Do You Eat Seasonally? It Could Actually Really Improve Your Health

With each passing year, I find myself more and more perplexed by that famous Righteous Brothers song, “Unchained Melody.” Sure, it’s a beautifully wistful tune, but when the singer laments that “time goes by so slowly,” I can’t empathize with the sentiment. To me, as I inch trepidatiously towards another birthday, it seems like time slips away far too quickly — like sand falling through unsteady fingertips, or the sun stealthily retreating below the horizon.

Or, shall I say, like the pumpkin spice latte vanishing from the Starbucks menu after November.

It seems like just yesterday that we were celebrating autumn with our favorite pumpkin recipes and sweet-but-savory butternut squash soups. Now, as the days become shorter and winter beckons us forward, we have no choice but to accept the reality that pumpkin has been supplanted with peppermint.

As the seasons change and so do our diets, we can either mourn the loss of our beloved fall foods, or we can embrace the opportunity to start afresh – not just with our luxury javas and pastries, but with our daily produce. In fact, eating seasonally goes as far back as the ancient Indian practice of Ayurveda (“science of life”), in which the commonly followed Ritucharya, or seasonal guidelines, dictated the culture’s diet and lifestyle throughout the year to promote optimal health and wellness, a protection of the mind, body, and spirit.

It turns out this ancient Indian science was wise to laud the benefits of seasonal eating. As mundane as it seems now to seek out year-round staples at big-brand grocery stores, there are plenty of reasons to climb out of your culinary comfort zone and prepare a more seasonal plate for your palate, no matter the time of year. Plus, you may even pick up a new, productive hobby in the process – so read on for our tips to become a mean, green, seasonal-eating machine.


The Benefits of Eating Seasonally

From nourishing your body to nurturing the planet, here are a few key reasons to eat seasonally throughout the year:

Seasonal Produce Tastes Better

Have you ever bitten into a strawberry or tomato in December and winced at how, well, rotten or mushy it tasted? That’s because these fruits typically ripen in the summer months, so that’s when they’re freshest and juiciest. Produce that’s made available out of season must be harvested early (that is, not allowed to ripen naturally on the vine) and refrigerated so as not to spoil before arriving at your local grocery store. Plus, these fruits and vegetables have likely been transported overseas. “When foods are fresher, when they have traveled less distance to get to you, they will be more flavorful and more enjoyable,” explains Sarah Skovran, a registered dietitian nutritionist at Sarah Skovran Nutrition.

Seasonal Produce Is More Nutritious

When your produce is out of season, the preservation and transportation process robs it not only of taste but of nutritional value. “If you go to the grocery store and pick out food that isn’t in season, chances are it is well beyond its peak and has diminished nutritionally,” notes Heather Hanks, nutritionist and medical advisor at Medical Solutions BCN. “By the time it reaches your plate, it may have been picked weeks ago and imported from across the world. This means that you’ll be eating less nutritious food.” By contrast, foods that are in season “tend to be fresher and more nutrient dense as they are picked when they peak, especially if you’re buying from local sources,” Hanks explains.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Whitney | Vegan Nutritionist (@eatplantsprosper)

Seasonal Produce Is More Affordable

Who doesn’t like to save some money, especially around the holiday season? According to Skovran, eating seasonally can help you do just that. “When you purchase produce in season, it tends to be less expensive than produce that has been forced to grow when and where it wouldn’t normally grow,” Skovran notes. “Additionally, if you think of eating seasonally as the style of dish (soup and casserole in winter, salads and grilled foods in summer), the foods that are generally included in those recipes are usually ones that are in-season, so the same cost benefit applies!”

Eating Seasonally Is Better For The Planet

Did you know that the United States imports almost two-thirds of its fresh fruit and one-third of its fresh vegetables? Think about the gas emissions of transporting all that produce into the country, not to mention of refrigeration and hothouses. Simply put, sourcing your produce locally reduces your carbon footprint on the planet, so you’ll be taking a meaningful step towards more sustainable living. Plus, according to a 2021 Environmental Working Group report, seasonal fruits and vegetables are less likely to be contaminated with pesticide residues, which are also toxic to the environment.

Eating Seasonally Supports Local Farmers

Speaking of sourcing locally, by doing so you’ll also be supporting your local economy. According to Skovran, “When you buy foods that are locally in season right in your local area, you are probably giving your money to people who live in your community – or if you live in a big city, not far outside it.” Especially since 2020, when many small local businesses were crippled by the ongoing pandemic, your local farmers (and their families) have needed your support more than ever.

Eating Seasonally Connects You To Nature

During these dark and moody winter months, it can be enough of a challenge to pull yourself out of bed, much less to venture outdoors and celebrate nature. But “when you follow the lead of the natural world, you may feel more at peace with the natural world,” says Skovran. “Eating the food available based on the seasons can help your body and mind adjust to the changes they bring in a gentle way.”

How To Eat Seasonally

Now that you’ve embraced the benefits of eating more seasonally (and bitten into a sour winter tomato for, hopefully, the final time), where do you even start? Here are a few suggestions to embark on your seasonal journey:

Consult The Seasonal Food Guide

Naturally, the first step in eating seasonally is to learn which fruits and vegetables are in season throughout the year. The online Seasonal Food Guide, the most comprehensive database of seasonable food in the United States, lets you look up what produce is seasonal in your area currently, and when your favorite produce is expected to reach its peak. You can even download the Seasonal Food app to your smartphone in case you have a query during your next emergency grocery run.

Visit A Local Farmer’s Market

Farmers markets are a fantastic way to buy directly from your local farmers, without having to go through a middle man like a chain grocery store. Not only can you purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from an assortment of booths or tents, but many community vendors also sell deliciously baked goods, so you can sate your weekend sweet tooth while you’re there. I mean, chocolate is never not in season, right? To find a local farmers market near you, visit, type in your location, and prepare to be amazed.

benefits of farmers markets

Join A CSA Program

CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture,” and it’s basically a way for you to invest in your local farm. At the start of a crop season, you buy a share from the farmer and receive a portion of the harvest on a recurring basis. In the CSA model, the consumer and the farmer share the risks and rewards of production, with a mutual understanding that some seasons will be more fruitful than others. Despite the gamble for the consumer, joining a CSA program can help your local farmer stay in business to grow fresh, seasonal crops all year round. can help you find a CSA near you.

Purchase A Fresh Produce Box Subscription

If you’re still wary about venturing out during these uncertain times, subscribe to a produce box delivery service and receive seasonal foods at your door as frequently as you choose. A few highly rated options include Hungry Harvest, Misfits Market, and Imperfect Foods, which keep their costs down by rescuing fresh produce that would otherwise go to waste. This option is perfect for the conscious consumer who shops for her produce most comfortably from the couch.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Kale & Chocolate 🍋 (@elisemuseles)

Start A Backyard Garden

When in doubt, do it yourself! Sure, building a garden from scratch may seem a Herculean task, but the benefits are innumerous. Not only can you guarantee that your produce will always be seasonal and fresh, but gardening is one of the healthiest hobbies you can develop during your lifetime. From fighting disease to building strength, boosting mood to bolstering memory, gardening is that practice where seasonal meets spiritual, where nurturing the soil also nurtures your soul. And plus, there’s no better way to cultivate the seeds of friendship with your next-door neighbor than with a fresh fruit basket instead of a sticky, stale fruitcake.


Have you committed to eating seasonably and sustainably? Are you a gardening guru who has some tips to share? Please comment below!

Looking For More Ways To Live Sustainably? Check These Out:

Join the Conversation