Nourish Your Body With In-Season Fruits and Vegetables

Story by Camille Wachholz
Photo Courtesy of Flickr

Some of us have been misguided into thinking that summer is the only bountiful season of fresh and colorful produce, but here’s the truth: autumn and winter hold their own nourishing cornucopia that we should take advantage of.

During the harsher months of the year, we often crave comfort foods. People tend to supplement their diets with warming soups, stews, casseroles and heavy carbohydrates like potatoes, pasta and bread. While these are fine in moderation, it’s important to remember that autumn and winter still offer plenty of nutrient-rich options.

Wait to buy juicy berries and melons until the warmer seasons, and let yourself indulge in autumn and winter produce, such as squash, apples, oranges, sweet potatoes, cranberries, carrots, celery – the list goes on!

Food for the Season




Eat the Rainbow
In order to obtain the micro-nutrients we need, it is important to eat a variety of natural colors.

  • Orange hues provide vitamin A and vitamin C, which are good for healthy skin, eyesight and increased immunity. Red hues offer antioxidants like folate (vitamin B9), vitamins A and C and sometimes vitamin K.
  • Green foods like broccoli and spinach contain iron, calcium and folate which work to protect bone and blood health. White produce like cauliflower and garlic are powerful immune boosters, offering vitamin C and sulfuric compounds that prevent unhealthy bacterial growth.
  • Yellow foods contain vitamin C and they also are rich in carotene, which promotes a healthy brain and digestion.
  • Blue and purple foods offer vitamins B, E, and C, which are great for circulation.

Almost all fruits and vegetables offer antioxidants which reduce inflammation and prevent disease and fiber, which regulates digestion and blood sugar.

Staying healthy and happy can be as easy as eating plenty of healthy, in-season fruits and vegetables.

Why Should I Vary My Produce Consumption?
Taking a multivitamin can technically provide the right nutrients, but it is always better to get vitamins and minerals from a whole food source. Our digestive systems more readily absorb these nutrients when they’re from food.

Incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet doesn’t have to be hard or expensive.

Bring an apple or grapes to campus instead of chips, bake a sweet potato or squash for a side with dinner and squeeze some lemon juice into your water. If you have a meal plan, make an effort to choose in-season sides for more flavor and benefits.

Most cafeterias at Central Michigan University offer fruit-infused water and salad bars, which can be a good resource to obtaining all of the delicious fruits and veggies that are in season without even thinking twice. If you enjoy cooking at home, there are many options for baked vegetables and sides of fruit, just use our list of in-season produce as a guide to grocery shop!

The following is a citrus salad recipe that will hopefully boost your mood and vitamin intake during these next few dark months.

Roasted Citrus Salad
Serves 4 as a side dish

  • 8 romaine lettuce leaves
  • 2 oranges
  • ½ grapefruit
  • Melted coconut oil for drizzling
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp grated fresh ginger
  • Salt & pepper
  • Pomegranate seeds for garnish


  • 3 tbsp fresh citrus juice (orange, lemon, or grapefruit)
  • ½ tsp citrus zest

Set your oven to broil at 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the oranges and grapefruit, remove the peel, and break the slices into bite-size pieces. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spread the citrus pieces in a single layer. Drizzle with coconut oil and toss to coat. Broil for 5-7 minutes or until just browned.

Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. In a small jar, combine the citrus juice and zest, olive oil, and ginger. Season with salt and pepper, and shake to combine.

Combine the citrus, lettuce, and vinaigrette in a large salad bowl and toss to mix. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and serve.