Autumn is here and with it a delicious selection of new seasonal food to eat. Ginny Weeks explains the benefits of eating with the seasons.

Summer is officially over and as the days get chillier our food tastes change. This is because our bodies need greater warmth and longer lasting energy as the weather cools. Basically, this means it’s the perfect time to start home cooking stews, soups and other yummy things.

Seasonal vegetables and fruits are plentiful in autumn as the summer ripening season draws to a close. It’s an ideal time of year to add more nutritious food into your diet. Here is just some of what is in season right now: carrots, blueberries, apples, peas, spinach, sweetcorn, plums and squash, and that’s just for starters. You can find the full list here.

Vegetables and fruits naturally grow better at particular times of the year for a reason: the natural cycle. Traditionally, nature provided foods that we needed at particular times of the year to fuel us appropriately. For example, root vegetables such as parsnips, potatoes and beetroot tend to be harvested in autumn and winter when we need long lasting, sustainable energy to fuel us through the colder weather. Where as in summer we eat lighter foods such as berries and leafy greens as our nutrition needs are different.

This cycle has become out of balance with the availability of fruit and vegetables from all over the world, at any time of year, in our supermarkets and shops. With so much selection most of us have forgotten what British produce is in season and when.

Many of us are regularly eating foods which may be nutritionally deficient as well as costly on the planet. By eating what is local we can fuel our bodies with the best vitamins and minerals and this in turn increases our ability to fight off illnesses and to feel at our best.

Seasonal eating is better for the environment and the planet as traditional production calls for far less pesticide and fertiliser use, as well as next to zero air transport.

The local economy benefits too. Eating British fruit and vegetables means that farmers get the support they need and as consumers we feel a greater connection with the food we are eating as we know where it has come from.

Another factor is cost – most local seasonal produce is often less expensive than food from other countries as it grows in abundance and doesn’t need to travel as far.

The best way to add seasonal vegetables and fruits to your diet is to make it convenient. Try an organic veg box scheme such as Abel & Cole, or here in Honor Oak Park we have local supplier Lee Greens.

Alternatively, when you are next at the supermarket check the food label to see where it was produced – you might be surprised at how much produce comes from abroad. Always try to choose British vegetables and fruits for the best seasonal nutrition.

If you’re still in need of inspiration, here are some delicious soups to get you started (all featuring seasonal veg). Enjoy!

Butternut squash soup with chilli and crème fraiche 

Carrot and turmeric superfood soup 

Spicy parsnip soup 

Do you feel the benefits of eating seasonally? Tell us below