How to Save Money and the Planet by Eating Seasonally
The food we eat plays a huge role in our lives. Not only does it form the foundation of our own wellbeing, but the choices we make as consumers around what food we consume contributes significantly to the health of our local economies and of the planet itself. Living and eating in season while budgeting and planning carefully for our meals is a very effective way to save money and can help to reduce food waste. With so much information now available about how bad food waste is for the environment, we now know being resourceful with our cooking and food shopping has a positive impact far beyond our own tummy.
It’s Better for your Wallet
Buying in-season fruit and veggies will save you money and ensure you end up with the freshest and most nutrient dense produce available. While Australians are very lucky to have access to pretty much every food possible at any given time, rather than seeking out overpriced produce grown on the other side of the world, opt for in-season locally grown produce instead. It will be available in abundance and therefore competitively priced.
Skip the supermarket where possible. Instead shop at local farmers markets or subscribe to a local veggie box. You’ll not only get the freshest food going you also be supporting local producers (and your local economy) and accessing produce which has been grown in your local region.
Another way to to save on food is to buy foods in bulk as this is much more cost effective. In Winter stock up on lentils, beans, rice and oats to make nurturing soups, stews and porridge to supplement the fresh produce you buy. You’ll also reduce plastic packaging if buying pantry staples in bulk. Plan your meals before you shop to avoid food waste and save up to $3800 a year of wasted groceries. * https://www.ozharvest.org/sustainability/food-waste-facts/
It’s Better for Our Bodies
Buying whole foods (ie. fresh fruit and veggies) is considerably healthier than processed foods. Even better when it’s in-season, as its also crammed full of even more vitamins and goodness. In-season produce has been grown in optimum conditions and not had to withstand transportation across large distances meaning it is less likely to have endured extended periods of refrigeration which can decrease nutrients. Fresh is always best!
Our bodies are crying out for different foods at different times of the year. Can’t hear it? Learn to listen to your body’s cues. Feeling scattered and stressed? Try grounding root veggies in a slow cooked stew. Feeling sniffly? Make yourself an immune boosting bone broth with veggies topped with vitamin rich parsley and a squeeze of lemon. Feeling lethargic? Stimulate your digestion and energy levels with warming and enticing spices like ginger, chilli and cinnamon. Food is medicine.
Our bodies are designed to eat in season. The types of fruits and veggies which are grown in the cooler months also happen to be more immune boosting, grounding and comforting (lemons, ginger, root vegetables, leafy greens). While the fruits and veggies which grow easily in summer usually are more refreshing and have a higher water content (cucumber, strawberries, tomatoes watermelon, zucchini) and are satisfying and hydrating in the warmer months.
It’s Better for the Environment
Food waste is not only a terrible waste of money and resources*, it’s disastrous for the environment too. Planning meals using in-season produce will help you to reduce food waste as in-season produce will last longer in your fridge. Ensure you are storing your fruit and veggies correctly to ensure you get the most of it.
Finally, where possible opt for chemical free produce. Fruit and vegetables, grains and legumes grown without pesticides and chemical fertilisers have been produced without destroying the integrity of the soil or killing off pollinators (critical to food production). Soil microorganisms are integral to healthy eco systems and help to reduce carbon emissions. Unfortunately conventional agriculture (particularly monoculture, which is the cultivation of a single crop in a given area) kills off biodiversity and soil microorganisms and that is very bad news for the climate, soil health and future food security. Buying organic can be more expensive (though as demand increases prices are becoming more competitive), but if you plan your meals and only buy what you’ll use you can shop within budget, waste less, value the produce more and end up with super healthy food for yourself and your family.
It’s good for your Soul!
Winter produce lends itself to slow cooked stews, oven baked casseroles and soul soothing soups. These types of foods are not only supportive for your body this time of year, they are also reviving for your spirit too. Making big batches at a time means you can divvy up portions to freeze or extend a dish over a few days resulting in low maintenance eats. Perfect for those chilly days when you’re tired and lacking in motivation. Batch cooking is time saving, cost effective, reduces stress levels and can help to eliminate food waste in your kitchen. Easy meals with less mess using produce consciously sourced is guaranteed to put a smile on your dial and give you a tum full of yum.
*According to the national food waste baseline 2019 report, Australia wastes 7.3 million tonnes of food each year (enough to fill 13,000 Olympic sized swimming pools!) with the most wasted foods in this country being vegetables, bread, fruit, bagged salad and leftovers*. (include link: https://www.ozharvest.org/sustainability/food-waste-facts/. ).
To find out what produce is in season now check out this handy guide:
Alison Gallagher is a freelance writer, resourcefulness expert and entrepreneur. She has been featured in various publications including Stellar Magazine, Australian Health and Fitness Magazine, and Cleo Magazine. Alison is particularly passionate about sharing practical tips on how to live simply, sustainably and seasonally.