Seasonal Produce: 1 Simple Way to Improve Your Family’s Diet

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One of my 2014 personal goals is to improve our family’s diet. I’m a “from-scratch” cooker and generally avoid canned soups and convenience foods because of their high sodium, preservative-laden ingredients, and, frankly, I don’t like them. However, recent bouts with morning all-day sickness have quashed my desire to cook, eat, or do anything food-related lately, and I’ve fallen prey to those convenient jarred sauces, frozen dinners, and quick-fix meals to get my family fed.

I’m not condemning anyone who relies on prepackaged meals because sometimes that’s all you can manage, but I do know the health hazards that come with regularly eating those foods and the long-term consequences — high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes — are not pretty.

I want my husband to live a long life. He has high blood pressure, so it’s imperative that I read the nutrition labels of the foods we eat and monitor his salt intake closely. That means no canned soups, lunch meats, processed foods, or meats with nitrates.

I also want my children to know what a healthy diet consists of, so they will choose “grow foods” over “junk.” A healthy diet for our family consists of whole grains, lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, and high-quality dairy. To say that we’re actually eating a healthy diet at every meal is certainly not the case, but as I have the energy, I’m working diligently towards that goal.

Credit: Eat Seasonably UK

Credit: Eat Seasonably UK

One way that I’ve found to eat healthy and save money is to buy seasonal produce. While we’re fortunate to live where foods are shipped from all over the world to our local grocery stores, those fruits and vegetables are not necessarily the best for us nutritionally, nor are they the most cost-effective.

However, each month, depending on where you live, you can find certain fruits and vegetables that are growing in or near where you live. You can tell what’s in season a lot of times by what’s on sale each week at your grocery store. For instance, here in Tennessee, asparagus is $1.99/lb. That’s a great price but it’s because asparagus is currently in season.

Seasonal fruits and vegetables are not only your best economical choices, but they’re also at their nutritional peaks, meaning that when they’re picked, the fruit or vegetable has the optimal nutrients. Seasonal produce, therefore, saves money, boosts your health, and is an easy and practical way to improve your family’s diet, adding new foods to the palate.

Each month I hope to share with you a list of U.S. seasonal produce that you can use to help you plan and prepare healthier, homemade meals and save a little money too. You can print out the March Seasonal Produce Chart by clicking here: March Seasonal Produce Chart PDF.

March Seasonal Produce Chart | Growing in His Glory

I will also be posting recipes periodically that incorporate one or more seasonal fruits and vegetables for inspiration. 

I want to improve my family’s health a little this year, and I hope you too will benefit from my journey.

Do you buy or grow your own seasonal produce? 

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Comments

  1. Fresh seasonal produce tastes so good! I normally buy what’s on sale as well unless there is something else that I really need for a meal. I love asparagus. When my parents lived here they had a lot of it growing and I miss it!
    Deanna recently posted…5 Minute Pick UpMy Profile

  2. We buy most of our produce at the local farmer’s market every week. I’m so blessed to live in a place where most veggies and fruits are cultivated all year long, though right now is “summertime” and all fruits are definitely at their peak. We’re loving it! I did start some veggie seedlings this weekend to transplant to our garden soon. Can’t wait to see them grow and produce!
    Jelli recently posted…Best Ever Split Pea SoupMy Profile

  3. Yes, I do try to buy seasonally – the prices are so much better. My kids keep asking me why we can’t buy a watermelon – um, it’s not the middle of summer yet, guys 🙂

    Thanks for linking up at Family Fun Friday! I’m featuring you this week.
    Sarah Mueller recently posted…Family Fun Friday {Week 58}My Profile

    • I agree. Eating what’s in season tastes so much better. Lately, we’ve been eating tons of broccoli and it’s just delicious. Thank you for the feature.

  4. Keri, I really like how you described healthy eating style in your post– no weird foods, just basic wholesome ingredients. I found it hard to explain to people that “healthy” doesn’t mean painful for their budget, nor is it more time-consuming. Completely agree on seasonality vs. prices and nutritional benefits. I will be looking forward to your recipes including seasonal produce.

    And yes, all-day sickness is no fun. It will pass, just be easy on yourself.

    • You’re right, Mila. Healthy doesn’t have to be expensive or eating weird foods, but it can be tricky at times, especially when your kids want junk food. We’re trying to detox and remove the unhealthy (processed) foods slowly but the kids are definitely the most resistant and finding healthy snacks or recipes that taste good is a challenge for me. Seasonal eating is one way to eat healthy and save $ that is working for us.

      Thanks for the encouragement!

      • We have gone through a similar process here as well, not without lots of bumps on the road. What I found most effective was 1. stop buying processed food, 2. talk to kids a lot about why it is important to eat healthy (I keep telling them that my job as a parent is to make sure they are healthy). 3. educate them on the basics of nutrition (on their level).

        The other day we had a friend’s daughter spend a day with us. I realized then how our eating habits have changed. She asked for snacks, and we didn’t have any pre-packaged. Our kids are used to eating yogurt with home-made granola (the one that Morgan featured in the link party), or home-made bread with some topping, and fruit.

        These are the things I share on my blog, if you’d like to visit. I’d love to explore your gardening section and pick up your tips. We are in the process of planning out our vegetable garden, and I am collecting all the tips I can find.

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