As a mom who wants her family to be healthy you try to include seasonal produce into your monthly meal planning. Many times you find that the produce will rot or you find that it’s difficult to find fruit and vegetables that truly are seasonal to your area.
All seasonal fruit is not the same. It depends on where you live in the world. In one part apples may be in season and in another part cucumbers will be in season. Not every climate produces the variety of produce many of us are accustomed to.
How do you Begin?
First you need to know what is seasonally fresh in your part of the world. One place to start is your local grocer and another is online. Searching Google brought a general produce list on Wikipedia. Read past “Once a Week Cooking” posts on Spring Vegetable Choices and Tips for Picking Fresh Produce.
Next, figure out how much of your budget will be set aside for produce. Will you invest in organic?
3 Tips for Adding Seasonal Produce to Your Meals
1. Buy Ripe Produce in Bulk
This might sound a little crazy but here’s why I suggest this. Ripe fruit is often on sale. Depending on your relationship with your grocer, you can often get these for pennies and sometimes even free.
Ripe produce can be used in soups, breads, fruit leathers, and a variety of other dishes.
2. Add Fruit and Vegetables to Every Meal
It is easy to add a bit of fruit or a vegetable to each of your family’s meals. You can add it as is or combine it in whatever dish you choose to make. Be bold and daring, produce works in a variety of surprising dishes.
For instance, add chopped apple or scallions to your next Tuna salad sandwich or cut up some vegetables for soups, salads, and casseroles.
3. Start Juicing
Discovering the power of ‘Green Machine’ has transformed the way I get my children to eat (drink) their veggies.
I don’t have problems getting them to each bananas, oranges, watermelon, or apples but I do struggle with getting them to eat anything green.
Enter the ‘green machine’. This is a green drink my boys love. It is a great way to get children to take in a variety of fruits and vegetables in a concentrated and tasty juice.
Once you find the fruits and vegetables your family enjoys you can incorporate them more easily into your meal planning. Just add whatever is fresh and in season at the moment.
You may have to adjust your shopping schedule to accommodate the local growing season bit it will be worth it. Dropping by the produce store once a week or even on a bi-weekly basis will add variety in your family’s diet.
I do want to add a word of caution for those who like to visit farmer’s markets in the city or suburbs. Many times vendors will purchase produce from a bulk supplier, drive to the suburbs and sell the produce as ‘locally grown’. This is the same produce your grocer purchases. Get to know the farmers in your area and become friendly with you local markets.
It takes a little more effort to buy fresh, season produce but it is worth it for the health of your loved ones.
Your Turn: How Do You Incorporate Seasonal Produce in Your Meal Planning?
Never worry about what's for dinner again. I've got you covered with the meal plans in the Once a Week Cooking Club. Cook once, eat all week.
Please be aware that some links used are to affiliates. They are almost always to products I use and love.