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Eating with the seasons is to consume fruits and vegetables that grow and ripen at certain times of the year in the climate you live in. It’s widely believed that eating local produce offers more health benefits due to increased nutrient availability and trace minerals found in local soil.

When out of season produce is shipped from faraway climates—for example blueberries shipped to Alexandria from Peru during the winter—the produce can be less fresh and therefore less nutrient dense by the time it hits store shelves (unless frozen at the time of harvest). This is due to the crop being picked early and shipped a long distance.

According to Seasonal Food Guide, there are many benefits to eating seasonally when crops are at their peak ripeness:

“Also, unlike out of season produce which is harvested early in order to be shipped and distributed to your local retail store, crops picked at their peak of ripeness are also better tasting and full of flavor. What’s more, studies have shown that fruits and vegetables contain more nutrients when allowed to ripen naturally on their parent plant.”

Eating with the seasons is easy during the autumn as there is an abundance of fruits and vegetables available. Embrace the array of colorful, nutritious options offered at grocery stores and farmer’s markets.

Here’s what to look for:

Apples, arugula, beets, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, celery, celery root, chard, collard greens, endive, grapes, green beans, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, parsnips, pears, potatoes, radicchio, radishes, raspberries, shallots, spinach, turnips, winter squash, and zucchini.

For a complete list visit: Seasonal Food Guide.

Next, upgrade your seasonal eating by adding any of the recipes below to your weekly rotation.

Creamy butternut squash, colorful spinach, and savory protein make this a hearty dish for any day of the week:

SkinnyTaste: Pasta with Butternut Squash Sauce, Spicy Sauce and Spinach

Photo credit: skinnytaste.com

Fresh lettuce “buns” elevate these chicken burgers for those limiting refined breads and carbohydrates:

Detoxinista: Healthy Chicken Burgers (Low Carb and Paleo)

Photo credit: detoxinista.com

Carrots, cabbage, and peppers mix with tender beef and a flavorful sauce to create a nourishing, grounding meal that’s tastier than carry-out.

Laura Lea Balanced: Easy Beef and Veggie Stir Fry

Photo credit: Laura Lea Balanced

And for dessert? All you need are fresh apples and pantry staples. One bowl. Vegan. Gluten-free. Delicious.

Minimalist Baker: The Best Vegan Apple Crisp

Photo credit: Minimalist Baker

Happy Seasonal Eating!