Why eat seasonally? Top tips for a healthy sustainable diet

Most of our favourite fruits and vegetables can be enjoyed year-round but they are only really at their best in season.
eat seasonally
It’s not just your health that benefits when you eat seasonally.

Why eat seasonally? There are many good reasons to eat seasonally and more locally-sourced produce. First up, you’re supporting the local economy and reducing the carbon footprint needed to deliver those non seasonal overseas grown products into your shopping basket. Most of our favourite fruits and vegetables can be enjoyed year-round but they are only really at their best in season.

With so much choice it can be hard to work out when to eat what. For instance, did you know that June is the perfect time to enjoy peas, or that you need to wait until September for the finest figs? 

Modern farming techniques and the availability of foreign grown products means you can get just about any fruit or vegetable all year round. Whilst this may be convenient, there is a big difference between these and locally produced in season foods. 

Seasonal plants are naturally stronger and more resistant to disease than those grown out of season in artificial conditions with more fertilisers.  The result is better quality fruit and vegetables that pack a bigger nutritional punch, so your five a day are worth a lot more to your body.

Fruits and vegetables begin to lose their nutrients as soon as they are picked. Out of season fruits and vegetables may have been harvested six or more weeks before you buy it, so many of the nutrients will be long gone. Buying in season fruit and vegetables means you get the most from your food.  Not only that, in season foods are less expensive, so your budget will benefit too.

Few people realise that healthier diets and lifestyles could prevent around 1 in 20 cancers, including many cases of bowel, breast and stomach cancer. If only we thought more about the food choices we make and included a little more exercise into our daily routines, we’d be much better placed to enjoy a happy, healthy later life.

Eat seasonally – a fruit & veg calendar

January: Pears, carrots, turnips, leaks, squash, parsnips, shallots and celeriac.

February: Cabbage, chicory, leaks, squash, parsnips, shallots and celeriac. 

March: Rhubarb, radishes, carrots, leeks, purple sprouting broccoli and beetroot.

April: Spinach, strawberries, mushrooms, wild garlic, radishes, rhubarb, carrots, kale and watercress.

May: Asparagus, cherries, cauliflower, new potatoes, broad beans, rhubarb and new carrots.

June: Gooseberries, elderflowers, courgettes, broad beans, lettuce, strawberries, peppers, asparagus, redcurrants, aubergines, peas and cherries.

July: Blueberries, aubergine, fennel, tomatoes, strawberries, watercress, loganberries, raspberries and cauliflower.

August: Greengages, peas, fennel, aubergines, peppers, courgettes, strawberries and sweetcorn.

September: Damsons, plums, blackberries, apples, sweetcorn, cucumber, spinach, figs and onion.

October: Elderberries, figs, watercress, squash, beetroot, mushrooms, courgettes, marrow, apples, kale and pumpkin.

November: Parsnips, cranberries, beetroot, swede, cabbage, potatoes, pumpkin, quinces, pears and leeks.

December: Pomegranate, celery, red cabbage, swede, celeriac, turnips, sprouts, pumpkin, beetroot, parsnips and pears.

Web Links

For more information about eating seasonally take a look at Eat the Seasons or Hubbub.

If you liked this content, you’ll find much more in our Nutrition channel.

Last modified: August 13, 2021

Written by 8:22 am Food & Drink, Nutrition