The 2017 restaurant brag du jour is a 'seasonal' driven menu and there's a valid reason for that, eating in season - as opposed to eating hot-house grown or imported food - is so much better for us health-wise and also for the environment. Just think how many carbon brownie points we're losing when a supplier flies a tub of tomatoes in from sunny Tuscany because we're demanding a summery tomato panzanella salad in the middle of an Aussie winter. But we do live in the lucky country and so even in winter there's an abundance of delicious in season food options.

SumoSalad's expert nutritionist and founder of Nourish Naturally, Rebecca Gawthorne lays out four compelling reasons to embrace seasonal eating - which she defines as "eating foods that are grown fresh in the current season."

#1 Flavour: Seasonal foods taste better because they are fresh. Produce doesn't need to be stored for extended periods of time or be transported from the other side of the world, so it retains more flavor and texture.

Images: @nourish_naturally

#2 Nutrition: Eating seasonally means you will get more nutrition from your food. Seasonally fresh produce is allowed to grow and ripen to its full potential, meaning more sun exposure and higher levels of antioxidants.  As soon as fruits and vegetables are harvested, their nutrient value starts to decline. Nutrients like vitamin C, folate, antioxidants and phyto-chemicals are susceptible to losses during storage and transportation. So the faster you consume the food after it is harvested, the better it is for you. Eating seasonally means there is a shorter timeframe between harvesting and eating, so seasonal produce has better nutrition content.

This is what we REALLY should be eating in winter

Seasonal foods are naturally designed to keep the nutrients your body requires to stay healthy at each time of year. In winter, for example, your body requires vitamin C to keep your immune system strong and ward off colds and flus. Fruits and veggies like kiwis, oranges, lemons, tomatoes, capsicum and persimmons are high in vitamin C and are in season in winter. Also beneficial for your immune system is onion, garlic, leafy greens and avocados, all of which are in season in the cooler months. Including these seasonal foods ensures you will be getting antibacterial and antiviral components to boost your immune system and keep you healthy during winter.

#3 Price: Seasonal food is much cheaper to produce for the farmers and there is less transportation and storage costs. Ka-Ching! 

This is what we REALLY should be eating in winter

#4 Environment: Seasonal produce is better for the environment on many levels. Firstly, seasonal food can grow without much assistance like pesticides and genetic modification. Secondly, there is less "food mileage" due to the food being locally grown and thus less transportation required. And thirdly, there is less storage involved.

When eating out, remember to choose meals that are loaded with fresh, seasonal winter produce.

You can find Rebecca Gawthorne at rebeccagawthorne.com.au or connect with her on Instagram @nourish_naturally

This is what we REALLY should be eating in winter