Veg Power has launched an appeal to get us all eating more seasonal vegetables and support food producers during this strange time. As many food serving venues are closed, large quantities of local seasonal vegetables and fruit are at risk of going to waste!
Let’s take a look at more of the benefits of eating foods in season:
Foods in season are typically of a higher quality and flavour
Foods that are grown closer to us, don’t usually require long periods of time in transit. This means that we’re more likely to get fruits and vegetables at their peak taste and when they provide maximum nutritional benefit. Vitamin levels can degrade over time, so fruit and vegetables transported overseas for example, may spend a number of days in shipping containers. These foods are likely to have less nutritional value than those requiring minimal transport.
Seasonal foods also contain the nutrients, minerals and trace elements that our bodies need at particular times of the year. Rather than eating the same fruits and vegetables year round, eating seasonally will ensure more variety in your diet and a wider range of nutrients!
They’re cheaper and save you money
Eating seasonal foods is cheaper and will help you to cut the cost of your weekly spend on food. When we buy foods in season, we buy it at the peak of its supply, meaning it costs less to farm, harvest and get to the supermarket. It might seem like common sense, but it’s something we often ignore when we’re shopping. It is easy to fall into the rut of buying the same fruit and vegetables every week without looking at the fluctuating cost. Supermarkets contain much the same fruit and vegetables year round, whether you visit in July or December, however the cost can drastically differ. The first step to take is to “seasonalise” your shopping list.
It’s better for the environment and supports the local economy
Eating seasonally helps to reduce your carbon footprint and supports a more sustainable food environment, but we don’t always give a lot of thought as to how far our food has travelled to get to our kitchen. If the food we buy has come a long way, then it could very well have a heavy carbon footprint. That’s especially likely if our food has travelled by air, due to the high climate impact of planes. In fact, the UK’s Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) estimates that transporting food within, to and around the UK produces 19 million tonnes of CO2 annually. This is the equivalent of around 5.5 million cars!
While there’s no formula definition of the term ‘local food’, many people feel it’s food that is grown within 100 miles of its point of sale or consumption. The Veg Power campaign highlights that buying vegetables coming into season, helps to support the frontline #FoodHeroes working hard to bring their crops to our tables and reduce the risk of food waste during the Covid-19 pandemic. So by choosing food produced locally, you support your local community, and help to keep local producers in business!
What foods are in season in October to December?
Seasonal food calendar
Take a look at the following seasonal food calendars to find which foods are in season at different times of the year:
- Veg Power: vegpower.org.uk/seasonal-veg-table/
- BBC Good Food: bbcgoodfood.com/seasonal-calendar/all
- Eat Seasonably: eatseasonably.co.uk/what-to-eat-now/calendar/
Using seasonal food in recipes:
For recipe ideas and inspiration, check out the following sites:
- Early Start Nutrition– YouTube Channel
- Veg Power– seasonal vegetable recipes
- First Steps Nutrition– Eating well recipe book with simple, cost-effective ideas for the whole family
Can I grown my own?
Absolutely! Whether you’ve got a windowsill, balcony or garden, there are a number of fruits and vegetables that can be grown indoors or in small outdoor spaces. You can pick up some of these seeds in your local supermarket (or even find in your dried herb cupboard!). For example:
- Pea shoots
(note: some of the above plants will need bigger pots and extra space)
For more information on growing and gardening activities to do with your little ones, check out our blog here