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Eagle's Eye View
June 3, 2024

Benefits of Incorporating Fresh Summer Produce in Your Diet

Eagle Health | Health and Wellness | OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH | Seasonal Produce

Summer is almost upon us, and that means pool days, hot weather, vacations, and fresh summer fruits and vegetables readily available at local farmer’s markets. Adding seasonal foods to your diet plan has significant health benefits, as well as economic and global benefits. Here is an excellent guide to incorporating more of those seasonal fruits and vegetables into your menu.

What is Seasonal Food

Eating seasonally means choosing fruits and vegetables during their natural growing seasons and from your geographic area. In the springtime, foods like broccoli, garlic, kiwi, and mushrooms are at their peak freshness. As we move into summer, it is the perfect time to eat berries, bell peppers, melon, and tomatoes.

Seasonal food refers to produce that is harvested and consumed during a specific time of the year when it is naturally abundant. For example, enjoying fresh strawberries in the spring or apples in the fall allows you to savor these fruits at the peak of their flavor and nutritional value rather than relying on imported or artificially ripened alternatives.

Benefits of Eating Seasonal Food

Eating in-season produce has many benefits. Here are several to consider when selecting the freshest produce in your area.

Fresh is Best

One key benefit of eating seasonal produce is its freshness. Locally grown fruits and vegetables are often harvested at their peak ripeness and delivered to the market without extensive transportation or storage. Due to the freshness of the produce, there is more flavor and more nutrients. In contrast, out-of-season produce may be picked prematurely and transported long distances, resulting in a loss of freshness and diminished nutritional value.

Research has shown that fruits and vegetables allowed to ripen naturally contain higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. By choosing seasonal produce, you can maximize your intake of essential nutrients and support your overall health.

Flavor and Quality

Fruits and vegetables that are harvested at the right time are known to have a higher quality of flavor compared to their out-of-season counterparts. This is because they can develop fully on the plant, resulting in a more intense and satisfying taste. Furthermore, seasonal produce often offers a wider variety of flavors and textures. Each season brings its own unique selection of fruits and vegetables, allowing you to experiment with different tastes and incorporate a diverse range of ingredients into your meals.

Helps the Environment

Choosing seasonal produce is beneficial for your health and the environment. By consuming locally grown fruits and vegetables that are in season, you can reduce the carbon footprint associated with long-distance transportation. When produce is transported over long distances, it requires additional resources such as fuel and packaging, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.

Supporting local farmers also helps area farmland in your community. By buying directly from farmers or participating in community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs, you contribute to the sustainability of local agriculture.

Money Saving

Eating seasonally can be budget-friendly, as seasonal produce is often more affordable compared to out-of-season alternatives. When fruits and vegetables are abundant, their prices tend to be lower due to reduced transportation and storage costs. Additionally, local farmers may have a surplus of seasonal produce, leading to competitive pricing. In addition, purchasing seasonal produce supports the local economy. When you buy from local growers, your money stays within the community and is reinvested with other local businesses.

Seasonal Eating and Health

Not only is seasonal eating good for the economy and our environment, but it also has a great impact on our overall health. Here are several reasons why eating seasonally can benefit your diet.

Added Nutrients

Different fruits and vegetables offer a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants with unique health benefits. For example, red fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes and strawberries, are rich in antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin A. These antioxidants help protect the body against chronic diseases and aging. Similarly, dark green leafy vegetables, like spinach and kale, are packed with nutrients such as folate, iron, and vitamin K, essential for maintaining healthy bones, blood clotting, and overall well-being.

Disease Prevention

A diet rich in seasonal produce has been associated with a lower risk of developing chronic diseases. The high fiber content in fruits and vegetables promotes healthy digestion and can help prevent conditions like constipation and diverticulosis. Additionally, many fruits and vegetables have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

Studies have also suggested that consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer. Research shows that individuals who consume a diet high in fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. The combination of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber found in seasonal produce contributes to overall health and disease prevention.

Weight Management

Adding seasonal produce to your diet can also help if you are trying to manage your weight. Fruits and vegetables are generally low in calories and high in fiber, which can help you feel fuller for longer and prevent overeating. By filling your plate with nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, you can reduce the consumption of calorie-dense foods and promote a healthy weight. When you want a sweet treat, try indulging in the natural sweetness of seasonal fruits. This can help satisfy your cravings while providing essential nutrients and supporting your weight management goals.

Finding Seasonal Food

Now that you understand the benefits of eating seasonal produce, you may wonder where to find it. Farmers’ Markets, CSA Programs, and Grocery Stores are excellent sources of seasonal produce. Many grocery stores now label seasonal produce, and online resources can help you find what’s in season.

Seasonal Eating and Meal Planning

Incorporating seasonal produce into your meal planning can add variety and freshness to your diet. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of seasonal eating:

Plan your meals around seasonal ingredients: One of the best ways to manage weight is to plan your meals to avoid impulse snacking. When you add seasonal produce to your meal plan, you enhance the flavors and nutritional benefits offered by seasonal produce. Research recipes that feature the fruits and vegetables in season and plan your meals accordingly.

Experiment with new recipes: Seasonal eating provides an opportunity to explore different flavors and try new recipes. Look for creative ways to incorporate seasonal produce into your favorite dishes or experiment with entirely new recipes. This can make mealtime more exciting and enjoyable.

Preserve seasonal produce: Did your grandmother spend the end of summer canning all those fruits and vegetables she grew in her garden? While this may have been her upbringing, it was an ideal way of keeping the fresh, locally grown produce to add to meals later. Freezing, canning, or pickling fruits and vegetables allows you to enjoy them even when they are out of season.

USDA Seasonal Produce Guide

Courtesy of the United States Department of Agriculture, here are some seasonal fruits and vegetables you can look out for at your local grocery store or farmers market:


  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Celery
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Strawberries


  • Bell Peppers
  • Blackberries
  • Corn
  • Peaches
  • Summer Squash
  • Strawberries


  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Cranberries
  • Pears
  • Pumpkins
  • Turnips


  • Beets
  • Cabbage
  • Collard Greens
  • Grapefruit
  • Swiss Chard
  • Winter Squash


Remember, while adding seasonal produce to your meal has many health and economic benefits, it is still best to eat in moderation as with any food and to add a variety of food groups to your diet to maximize their health benefits. There are proven connections between what you eat and your health. We hope this guide helps you find a way to feel healthier and still enjoy meal planning this summer. Eagle Health encourages companies to foster a focus on healthier, more productive workplaces through education on occupational health topics, such as how what you eat can impact your health and wellness. What are your thoughts, experiences, and suggestions on eating season produce? Do you have a favorite fruit or vegetable, or recipe you use – feel free to share as we grow stronger in our pursuit of excellence.

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