The benefits of eating in-season produce

Summer is around the corner, and many people are looking forward to the fresh produce that comes with the season. Learn how eating these types of fruits and vegetables can benefit your health, your wallet and your local economy.  

What is seasonal eating?
Seasonal eating involves purchasing and consuming foods not long after they are harvested. You can find this fresh produce at a grocery store or farmers market. Or you can grow some yourself in a home garden.

Fruits and vegetables to grow at home:

  • Strawberries and blueberries
  • Raspberries and blackberries
  • Watermelon and rhubarb
  • Cucumbers and zucchini
  • Lettuce and kale
  • Potatoes and carrots
  • Tomatoes and peppers

With a wide variety of choices, it’s easy to access seasonal foods and reap the benefits.

Benefits of eating seasonally
Eating fresh, seasonal produce offers many benefits, including:

  • Saving money: Seasonal produce is often cheaper than processed foods.
  • Shopping small: Buying local produce helps your community and local farmers.
  • Homemade meals: Fresh ingredients make meals at home more special.
  • Quality foods: Fresh produce has more nutrients than processed foods.

Health benefits of seasonal eating
Eating seasonal foods can also benefit your overall health. Summer foods, such as stone fruits, provide extra beta-carotenes that help protect against sun damage. They also provide a bit of energy to your summer fun.

Winter or early spring vegetables such as leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts are high in vitamin C, which is important for preventing infections, colds and the flu. Winter vegetables are also great in stews, soups, casseroles and other warm meals.

Tips for making meals with seasonal produce
Now that you know the benefits of seasonal produce, you can put together nutritious homemade meals. Check out this seasonal food guide to find in-season produce near you.

You might be surprised at how easy it is to use fresh fruits and vegetables in your meals and snacks. Try some of these options the next time you’re hungry:

  • Add a side of broccoli or potatoes to your main dish.
  • Add bananas to your breakfast cereal or toast.
  • Add tomatoes and onions to your burger.
  • Blend strawberries, blueberries, juice and yogurt into a smoothie.
  • Cut up peppers or carrots to dip in hummus.
  • Roast and salt kale to make a light and airy chip alternative.

And try this strawberry rhubarb baked oatmeal recipe from for a fun and easy spring breakfast! In late May, rhubarb is in season in the Midwest.

Strawberry rhubarb baked oatmeal
For the base:

  • 1 cup diced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped rhubarb
  • 1 3/4 cups oats
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp cold coconut oil
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped rhubarb


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray your baking pan with coconut oil.
  • Add 1 cup strawberries, 1/2 cup rhubarb, cinnamon, chia seeds, oats, almond milk, honey and vanilla to a bowl and mix. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes for the oats to absorb the liquid.
  • While the mixture is sitting, make the oat topping. Mix all the topping ingredients (except for the fruit) in a bowl with your hands to get evenly mixed. Add the fruit and stir.
  • Pour the mixture into a baking dish. Top with the oat topping.
  • Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before slicing.


Natasha Hansen
Natasha Hansen Senior Sports Dietitian
Natasha Hansen joined Sanford Sports as our Senior Sports Dietitian in November of 2023. Hansen comes to Sanford Sports from The University of Kansas where she was the Director of Performance Nutrition.
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