On this blog, we’ve discussed seasonal eating before. It’s essentially the idea of eating foods when they’re ‘in season’, which is basically when they’re at the best from a nutritional profile and taste point of view.
We’re in summer now, so lets discuss a few of the foods that are in season now and explain exactly why they are so good for you…
The quintessential British summer fruit, strawberries are synonymous with picnics and the Wimbledon Tennis Championships. Their natural season typically lasts from June to August, when the fruit is at its biggest, juiciest and sweetest. A good strawberry is hard to beat, but aside from the great taste there are some useful nutritional benefits to eating your share of strawberries over the summer!
Why Strawberries are good for you…
- High in Vitamin C – 8 medium sized berries contains 150% of your RDA (recommended daily allowance) of Vitamin C.
- Low Calorie – the same 8 berries will come in at around 50 calories.
- Low Glycemic Load – despite being relatively high in (natural) sugar, the high fibre content in the strawberries means the GI is low.
- High in antioxidants, helping clear the body of free-radicals.
Perhaps the least glamorous of the pepper world, bell peppers are a fantastically healthy and versatile ingredient. In season from June through the rest of the summer, bell peppers can be used in all kinds of ways – added to dishes as a bulking agent or used as a vessel for filling with meats, rice, cheeses etc. Typically green peppers have a slightly bitter taste, whereas the red, yellow and orange versions are typically sweeter.
Why Bell Peppers are good for you…
- Wide nutrient variety – incredibly high in vitamin C, but also contributes significantly to various mineral requirements.
- Very low calorie – 20 calories per 100g.
- Easily grown in the UK – reduced food miles and packaging requirements.
- Plenty of variety – suits all kinds of tastes, making it a versatile food.
Kippers aren’t particularly fashionable, nor do they spring to mind as an obvious choice for a list like this one, but throughout the summer kippers are at their seasonal best. A kipper is a fat, filleted herring that has (if made properly) has been brined and cold-smoked. This process reduces water content and adds a subtle, smokey flavour to the flesh of the fish.
Why kippers are good for you…
- Very high in Omega 3 – 668mg of Omega 3 per serving.
- A great protein source – 19g per 100g of fish.
- Very high levels of Vitamin B12 – 88% of your RDA per serving.
- No sugar – great for low carb dieters.
With the humble spud making up such a large chunk of the western diet, it’s easy to overlook it as an important health food. Potatoes are in season from June-October, meaning they’re at their best over the summer. Pick and eat them now and you’ll benefit from a versatile, low calorie and tasty food that packs a serious nutritional punch.
Why potatoes are good for you…
- A naturally gluten-free carb source, so good for allergy sufferers.
- Potatoes contain no sodium, so are great for people on a low-salt diet.
- Potatoes are bulky, keeping you full for a long time but contain few calories.
- Potatoes contain high amounts of copper, which isn’t found in all vegetables, so great for minerals.
Thanks to intensive farming and year-round growing technology, we have largely forgotten when tomatoes are in season. The truth is though, if you want high-quality, tasty and abundant tomatoes, you’ve got to wait until the summer. In my opinion, UK grown tomatoes aren’t worth eating until at least June, when they ripen to a lovely deep red colour and their true flavour comes out.
Why tomatoes are good for you…
- Very high in Vitamins A and K – a serving provides 25% of Vit A RDA and 15% of Vit E RDA.
- Arguably healthier when cooked – rare in the food world!
- Significant amounts of fibre – vital for a healthy gut.
- Wide variety of vitamins and minerals with each serving.
The benefits of eating seasonally…
Eating foods at their best provides you with the highest concentration of vitamins, minerals and taste. It’s also when a food is at its most abundant, meaning it’s also usually much cheaper to buy.
We live in an age where we can eat almost any food all year round, but it means we don’t experience food at its very best if we do that. Take some advice – look for foods when they are in season and enjoy them at their best! You’ll improve your health, your physique and the health of your wallet as well!