Eating In-Season: Winter Veggies
With winter comes cooler weather, and with cooler weather comes comfort food. Gone are the strawberry-walnut salads and corn on the cob – enter the moist, aromatic pumpkin muffins and a nice helping of flavorful, stick-to-your-ribs mashed potatoes. We’re as excited as you are to indulge in some traditional cold-weather fare – but fall and winter dishes tend to be on the heavier side, making it easy to sabotage that healthy eating lifestyle you worked for all summer. Luckily, there are plenty of readily available fruits and veggies in season during the fall and winter months to help keep your diet balanced. Including in-season produce in your diet is a great way to make sure you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals you need during the shorter days of winter – and it helps cut costs at the grocery store! Finding in-season items doesn’t have to be complicated – we love this visual guide from the Daily Infographic. It’ll help you keep track of what’s being harvested all year long. Take a look at what’s available over the next couple of months and switch up your dinner routine to include some fresh items – we’ve chosen a couple of our favorites, along with some easy ways to use them, to get your creative juices flowing. Let’s start with some veggies!
1. Sweet Potatoes – We’re completely in love with sweet potatoes. They’re flavorful, naturally sweet, jam packed with nutrients, and incredibly versatile. The Manganese in sweet potatoes can help boost the immune system, and their high fiber content aids in digestion and regulates hunger – making them a great staple for keeping you healthy during the winter months. Although they can be used in anything from soups, to salads, to baked goods, we love mashing them together with spices and beans and topping them with avocado for a big ‘ol mouthful of veggie burger. Check out the delicious but oh-so-simple recipe, from Healthy. Happy. Life.
2. Brussels Sprouts – If you, like most people, had an aversion to brussels sprouts as a kid, it’s time to pluck up some courage and reevaluate this under-appreciated veggie. These little guys are essentially mini-cabbages, so naturally they have some of the same health benefits – and man, do they pack a nutrient punch. Their phytonutrients, or natural plant compounds, can do everything from fighting heart disease and cancer, to aiding in normal tissue growth, to preventing that pesky winter cold – did you know that just a half cup of brussels sprouts will get you 80% of your daily Vitamin C? Now that’s one powerful plant. Sprouts have a tendency to be bitter – which is probably why they get such a bad rep! Temper the bitterness by roasting them with balsamic vinegar and pancetta for a crisp, flavorful side dish.
3. Kale – We’ve all heard about the health benefits of Kale – it’s one of the stars of the veggie world right now. Eating Kale supports brain health, helps fight diabetes and obesity, and is a great way to get calcium if you’re not a milk lover. Although we could sing its praises from dawn until dusk, one of Kale’s most attractive qualities is that it’s readily available during the winter, when other leafy greens are out of season. If you’re missing your fresh summer salads, try this recipe on for size – the bold spices combine perfectly with crisp fall apples for a delicious, unique, no-cook meal.
Now – time to get off the internet and into the kitchen! We want to hear about your adventures with in-season veggies – share your stories, tips, and favorite recipes with us! Plus, don’t forget next week, same time, same place – in-season fruits!