Wondering how to find that balance between a healthy lifestyle and making cheap, healthy meals? Budgeting is tough! But one way to keep your costs down while also making more healthy choices is eating seasonally.
What is eating seasonally?
It’s simple – eating seasonally means buying only fruit and vegetables that are in season. In other words, they are being grown and harvested right now – and not sold to you after months in storage, or after being transported from another part of the world. These products will be less expensive, and more often than not healthier too.
Here’s the thing – when you go to the grocery store, a lot of the produce that is available is actually not in season. With the technology, storage and transport options we now have in the modern world, it’s possible to buy just about any fruit or vegetable at any time of the year.
While some fruit and veg can be grown and eaten almost throughout the whole year, some seasonal vegetable are often kept in cold storage for long periods. South Africa also imports produce from other countries so we are able to get fruit and veg ‘out of season’.
Eating seasonally is more budget-friendly
Storage costs to keep seasonal produce fresh is expensive, as is transporting fruit and veg across the globe. So when you buy out of season, you pay more for produce.
Eating seasonally is better for the environment
Less demand for out of season produce means fewer emissions as a result of global transport. Eating seasonally also supports local farmers, which is better for the environment and the economy.
Eating seasonally is healthier
Fruit and veg that is in season hasn’t been in cold storage for weeks or months before you buy it or treated with chemicals to keep it fresh. Seasonal produce is guaranteed to be fresher and therefore a healthier eating choice.
Eating seasonally in South Africa
Here are some popular seasonal fruit and veg you can buy in South Africa:
Summer (December, January, February) – Apricots, bananas, eggplant, beetroot, mangoes, green beans, pawpaw, pineapples.
Autumn (March, April, May) – Apples, avocado, beetroot, eggplant, naartjies, radishes, sweet peppers, pears, turnips.
Winter (June, July, August) – Apples, avocado, beetroot, Brussels sprouts, oranges, turnips, watercress.
Spring (September, October, November) – Apples, avocado, bananas, coconuts, guavas, nectarines, oranges, pawpaw, melon, strawberries.
Eating seasonally can really bring your grocery costs down, and allow you to enjoy delicious fruits that are usually expensive when you buy them out of season. You can get seasonal produce at your grocery store – or take a trip to a local farmers market for seasonal options that are organic and 100% fresh!