Today I’m sharing everything you need to know about seasonal meal planning! We’ll chat about why it matters to meal plan with the seasons and how YOU can get started with that. I’ll share recipes for spring, summer, fall, and winter to get you started no matter what time of year it is. Read on to get started!
Seasonal meal planning
Below you’ll find all of these resources within the complete guide to eating seasonally. Click to be taken straight to the section you want to read about:
- Why should you meal plan with the seasons?
- Make an effort in eating seasonally, but don’t stress yourself out
- How do you know what’s in season?
- How does eating seasonally change menu planning?
- Spring meal planning
- Summer meal planning
- Fall meal planning
- Winter meal planning
- Looking for more resources beyond seasonal meal planning?
Why should you meal plan with the seasons?
When we are eating with the seasons, we are often eating foods that can be grown more locally to where we are.
When our food doesn’t have to travel as far it is going to be more fresh. It will have less vitamin and mineral loss. Plus, it will taste better!
When we are purchasing produce that is more freshly picked (or grown ourselves!), it will be picked at its peak ripeness instead of when it’s not even ripe.
Think about a tomato that’s being shipped from a warmer location – those tomatoes are going to be picked when they are not yet ripe and allowed to ripen during travel. If that didn’t happen the tomatoes would have gone bad by the time they arrived at the store.
That tomato will not be as delicious as a summer tomato that is picked straight off the vine. Tomatoes in the winter just aren’t the same.
Make an effort in eating seasonally, but don’t stress yourself out
I do want to say – I am not perfect in this area!
I still love to enjoy tomatoes even out of seasoning, but they aren’t my main focus because I know they just aren’t as good.
If we can really focus our efforts on eating more seasonally, then we can make an impact on also getting our produce more locally and when it’s at its peak nutritional value.
How do you know what’s in season?
This is where I go to google! I’ll search the internet to find out what’s in the season where I live.
It’s important to be specific in your search because what’s in season for me here in Washington, will be different than what’s in season in Florida.
Another great way to see what’s in season is to go to your local farmer’s market. See what they are selling there. What the farmer brings, they grow locally so you know that will be in season and fresh.
If you are at a regular grocery store, look and see what produce is on sale.
Often fruits and vegetables that are on sale are in abundance, and during the growing season, that food will likely be producing a lot.
Asparagus is a good example of this. We LOVE asparagus and when springtime rolls around and it’s in season, the price drops. It also tastes better.
In fact, my husband’s favorite vegetable is asparagus and sometimes he’ll request it from the store mid-year.
When it’s in season, a regular price is around $2/pound. However, when he’s asked and it’s out of season, the price is closer to $8/pound – that’s a good sign that it is not in season or local!
How does eating seasonally change menu planning?
This is something I always consider when building the meal plans in Fit Mama Meal Plans. As we head into the cooler months, I ask myself “what is in season and what types of foods are making sense right now”? We’re not having as many fresh produce salads, but we are enjoying more comforting warm casseroles and soups.
Let’s contrast that to when it gets hotter outside- we’ll be enjoying more salads and grilled meals. And that all makes sense. We tend to gravitate towards those foods as the weather changes.
Do you notice that shift in your own eating patterns?
In these cooler weather months, when we’re enjoying more soups and stews, what kind of hearty winter squash can we incorporate?
What kind of hearty greens are making more sense because they are more in season?
As you meal plan with the seasons, consider what you are personally craving as the weather changes, and also what kind of seasonal produce makes sense within those meals.
Then, as you head into the next seasons – spring and summer – just notice the foods you are gravitating towards.
Then, see which fruits and vegetables make sense because they are now in season.
Spring meal planning
Here’s a list of spring meals to consider for your spring meal planning.
- Banana carrot almond flour pancakes
- Broccoli sausage quiche with an oatmeal almond flour crust
- Coconut curry chicken with udon noodles and broccoli
- Orange mango kefir popsicles
- Orange almond pulp energy balls
- Lamb meatball bowls with avocado cilantro sauce
- Carrot cake donuts
- Crockpot maple chili pork with asparagus
- Sausage and sorrel quiche
Summer meal planning
Here’s a list of summer meals and menus to consider for your summer meal planning.
- September meal plan
- Blackberry almond smoothie
- Cucumber shrimp peanut salad
- Easy Mexican street corn salad
- Healthy zucchini cakes
- Buffalo chicken salad
- Easy strawberry chia jam
- Sausage, egg, and veggie breakfast burritos
- Sheet pan beef gyros
- BBQ turkey burgers
- Almond butter zucchini muffins
- Pizza stuffed bell peppers
- Umami mushroom beef burgers
Fall meal planning
Here’s a list of fall meals and menus to consider for your fall meal planning.
- October meal plan
- November meal plan
- Almond butter butternut squash muffins
- Cranberry hazelnut kale salad with turmeric vinaigrette
- Whole grain apple pie pancakes
- Crockpot chicken noodle and kale soup
- Sausage, kale, and potato breakfast casserole
- Bacon and brussels sprout farro salad
Winter meal planning
Here’s a list of winter meals to consider for your winter meal planning.
- Zuppa toscana soup
- Healing chicken turmeric soup
- Kale, feta, pear, and walnut salad with honey poppy seed dressing
- Peanut butter pumpkin overnight oats
- Kale and sausage pizza with an einkorn crust
- Salmon pumpkin meatballs
- Crockpot chicken tortilla soup
Looking for more resources beyond seasonal meal planning? Check these out:
- Grab a free meal plan!
- How to meal plan
- My meal planning secret weapon
- How to build a healthy balanced meal
- How to customize a meal plan
- Easily add more variety into your meal (with examples!)
Do you meal plan seasonally? Do you have favorite fruits and veggies you look forward to as the seasons change?
*Originally published in November 2020. Updated January 2023.*