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Nature's Common Sense

Spring has finally sprung in Melbourne and I for one couldn’t be happier!

Not only am I excited to shed some heavy winter woolly attire and don a lighter and more colourful approach to getting dressed in the morning, but I also can’t wait to feast on some of spring’s edible offerings. You might say, after some inevitable winter hibernation, my appetite for all things spring has started to blossom along with the trees.

Eating seasonally, as we call it, essentially means including food on your plate, which is naturally available for harvesting at the time you are eating it.

Take this fictional conversation as an example:

“Hello, Mrs. Xenophontos, I hear your celery is in fine form this time of year, ready for picking, may I have some?”

“Of course you may, it’s perfect timing for it to be harvested.”

“That’s great, thank you. I also brought some hummus for us to share.”

*Cue celery and hummus gorge and much flavourful and seasonal happiness.

By eating this way – seasonally – you are getting food at its freshest and cheapest. You are including a wider variety of foods in your diet and you are also tapping into what I like to call, nature’s common sense.

Nature has a wonderful wise way of shoving certain foods in our face exactly when we need them most. As changes in growing conditions vary between summer, autumn, winter, and spring, a variety of different foods flourish in each season. In fact, the seasons form a natural backdrop for eating well.

Have you ever noticed that you crave warm, comforting root vegetables in the winter and fresh salads and fruit in the summer? Before modern food processing, that’s traditionally what was available for us. It was also appropriate food for the challenges of each season, keeping us healthy and happy for the most part.

Now not to fret, you don’t need to forgo all of your favourite imported or exotic foods (I’m looking at you, chocolate!). Even a modest transition to more local and seasonal foods has a positive impact on the planet and offers personal health benefits.

Enter stage left, these six steps to eating seasonally:

  1. Change habits: Take small steps and choose one new habit at a time to implement into your daily life. Perhaps including one new seasonal food each week could be a first step?
  1. Plan ahead: Food preparation and planning meals makes life a lot easier and allows you to thoughtfully and purposefully include seasonal produce throughout the week.
  1. Keep it simple: Don’t overcomplicate your recipes, start with easy dishes (often the yummiest in my humble opinion), and grow from there. No use overwhelming yourself with a thousand ingredients and complicated cooking instructions, when simply adding some seasonal broad beans to your salad will do.
  1. Buy fresh: Check out your local farmer’s market or support your local green grocer. Have a chat and get to know the people behind your food. They have a great knowledge of seasonality can inspire you to create new and interesting recipes.
  1. Shop smart: Suss out local food co-ops or produce delivery services with an emphasis on local foods. Where you can, why not grow your own produce? Plant some balcony herbs, backyard veggies, or our join your local community garden.
  1. Eat smart: Is what you’re consuming making a positive or negative difference to your body? The more you think about and learn about your food, the better equipped you are to make informed decisions about what to eat.

All in all, connecting with nature and learning about the cycle and rhythm of the seasons is a great lesson for kids and adults alike – especially when it comes to food.

If you want more juicy information on eating seasonally and sustainably, including recipes and meal plan ideas, then check out this brilliant site: http://www.foodwise.com.au

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