Seasonal eating: Here’s the healthy way to cut down on your food bill

As the cost of living crisis continues to tighten their belts this autumn, people across Ireland are always looking for ways to save.

We were encouraged ‘clever with energy‘, to wear warmer clothes and even offered a “chill count” when we are ready to eat out Eating out without heating – but there’s an easy way to save that’s good for you and the environment.

On Newstalk breakfast This morning, reporter Sarah Madden found out how you can cut your grocery bill without sacrificing taste or nutrition.


She started by talking to news reporter Consumer expert – and seasonal cooking pro – Sinéad Ryan.

“Actually, it’s only been in the last 30 to 40 years that people have been buying non-seasonal items,” says Sinéad.

“I’ve certainly noticed that fruit, veg and dairy have absolutely skyrocketed in price.

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“Personally, I have decided to stop buying groceries with airline miles because of the energy crisis. That’s because all the suppliers and breeders and importers and all the air miles that have to be paid have increased tremendously.”

Homemade Organic Broccoli Soup with Rye Bread Croutons.  picture Homemade Organic Broccoli Soup with Rye Bread Croutons. Image: Brent Hofacker / Alamy

Deciding to eat in season is one thing, but where do you start? Sarah got the facts from nutritionist Orla Walsh, who told her it’s really important to adjust to the natural seasonal calendar.

Here are just a few of the fruits and vegetables that are in season right now:

  • Leek
  • Rooster Potatoes
  • carrots
  • tomatoes
  • cabbage
  • broccoli
  • parsnips
  • celery
  • onions
  • spring onions
  • Kale
  • Bok choy
  • apples
  • raspberries
  • strawberries

She warned that just because something is grown locally doesn’t mean it’s in season.

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“There could be heated tunnels, all sorts of things could be used to try to produce this food locally,” she said.

Ms Walsh warned that the cost of growing fruit and vegetables out of season could quickly wipe out any savings from buying locally grown produce.

Puree with apples, raspberries and black currant on the rustic wooden background. Puree with apples, raspberries and black currant on the rustic wooden background. Image: Lyudmyla Yaremenko / Alamy

She said seasonal produce is also much healthier.

“Nutritionally, local produce is often healthier in season simply because there’s less time lag from farm to fork,” she said.

“We lose nutrients — for example, folic acid or folate and vitamin C — through oxidation, humidity and temperature, so this is important from a micronutrient perspective because that’s one of the reasons we eat them.”

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Ms Walsh said eating seasonally is better for the environment too.

“The environmental costs of eating fruits and vegetables out of season almost negate the environmental benefits of eating plants,” she said.

“The other benefit is that when you’re feeding a family, vegetables taste better and are more consistent when in season.

“So, for example, if people have young children and children eat the plant and it doesn’t taste good at the time because it’s out of season or they’ve traveled all over the world to get on your plate, they might fall off that plant forever.”

As a final tip, Ms Walsh said seasonal foods that are cooked now can always be frozen for later in the winter.

You can listen here:

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