If you’re overwhelmed by all the options in the grocery store, and looking for a way to simplify your kitchen, here’s why seasonal meal planning makes so much sense! I’ll show you my method – how I include seasonal ingredients into the simplest meal plan ever!
What is seasonal meal planning?
Simply, it means that we plan our meals based on the produce that grows during a certain season. Basically, focusing on what grows in your area, at that specific time.
Why eat seasonally?
- Seasonal produce saves money
- A seasonal eating plan is healthier for you
- Eating seasonal produce is better for the environment
- Seasonal meal planning is also just plain easier
1. How does buying seasonal produce save money?
The longer the trip from farm to grocery store, the higher the cost. Just look at the front of your grocery flyers. The grocery store wants to make as much money as possible and they can do that by selling local, low-cost produce.
Usually the fruit and vegetables on the front page are in season and going to give you the most bang for your buck.
2. Why is it suggested to eat seasonal foods to keep healthy?
Eating an orange that has travelled fewer miles to get to you is actually healthier for you because that orange loses nutrients every day that it’s sitting in a truck and not in your belly!
3. How does eating seasonally help the environment?
When you choose in-season produce that is local to your area, you not only save money because the store doesn’t have to pay to ship it from a far location, but it’s also better on the environment because less fuel is used to deliver that avocado from Mexico or oranges from Florida.
4. How to make an easy seasonal eating plan for your family?
- Start with the produce list below, the front of your grocery flyers, or your local farmers’ market (or just stuff you like to eat this time of year).
- Choose a few fruits or vegetables that you’ll revolve your meal plan around.
- Find recipes that you already love or go find new ones (helloooo, Pinterest – I pin lots of easy recipes, come follow me!)
- If you want to create a Capsule Pantry, go here to start!
My seasonal meal planner
I created a method where I make a rotating meal plan (for the entire season!) using a set number of ingredients, called the Capsule Pantry (LINK).
You can use this method to create your own super simple meal plan – you basically create one meal plan for the season, then transfer it to your monthly meal plan, rotate it for the next month, and then the next month. It’s a very simple way of meal planning and also eating seasonally. You can download the planner in the free kit below!
Download the seasonal food meal planner inside the Capsule Pantry kit:
What does eating seasonally mean?
How to eat seasonally – it’s not just eating asparagus and peas in the spring and pumpkins and apples in the fall! Eating seasonally is also making sure you’re using produce that’s grown local to you at that point in time. If you live in the northeast like I do, that means Spring is for asparagus, spinach, peas. Summer is zucchini, peppers, and tomatoes. Fall is pumpkin, winter squash, and corn. Winter is beets, kale, and broccoli.
Keep scrolling for a complete list of produce by season!
How to eat seasonally
Here’s a guideline of what produce is in season for spring, summer, fall, and winter in the United States. Obviously, some things will be more or less in season based on where you live. But if you start here, you’ll have a good foundation for your seasonal meal plan!
Winter Produce in Season (December, January, February)
winter squash, brussel sprouts, beets, parsnips, turnips, cabbage, carrots, leeks, onions
grapefruit, kiwi, lemons, oranges
Spring Produce in Season (March, April, May)
Swiss chard, kale, collard greens, spinach, lettuce, arugula, avocado, snap peas, broccoli, asparagus, radishes, carrots, artichokes, fennel,
Mangoes, strawberries, rhubarb
Summer Produce in Season (June, July, August)
tomatoes, corn, peppers, green beans, berries, cucumber, eggplant, peaches, yellow squash, zucchini, new potatoes
Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Watermelon, cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines, raspberries, blueberries,
Fall/Autumn Produce in Season (September, October, November)
pumpkins, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, collard greens, kale, beets
Apples, cranberries, pears, figs, pomegranate
I hope this helps, especially if you’re overwhelmed by the million of recipes and options and looking for a way to simplify your meal planning! Seasonal meal planning can make your life easier, especially when you pair that with a Capsule Pantry.
More meal planning by season:
Make sure you download the FREE Capsule Pantry Success Kit and start meal planning like a minimalist!