If you’re anything like me, you love the holidays. Ice skating, hot chocolate, Christmas movies under warm, cozy blankets…I love when December comes around. But for me, the cold climate can make it difficult to add fresh, colorful fruits and veggies to my diet. Eating locally is truly a challenge! To help us get the vitamins and nutrients our bodies crave during these winter months, I’ve compiled a list of the perfect fruits and veggies to hold us over until the spring.
Carrots are loaded with an antioxidant called beta-carotene, the pigment that gives them their bright orange color. Beta-carotene is converted to Vitamin A, protecting us from damaging free radicals and delaying the progression of age-related eye degeneration. Carrots peak in late fall, with some varieties harvested throughout the winter. Try this delicious recipe from The Cookie Rookie for Honey Balsamic Roasted Carrots.
Dark Leafy Greens
Dark, leafy greens are grown in warmer climates and the Pacific Northwest throughout the winter months. They are rich in many health-boosting vitamins (A, C, K and E) as well as iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. They’re low in calories and aid in digestion, lowering cholesterol and protecting against cancer. Add more leafy greens to your diet with this recipe for Black Bean, Mango & Kale Wheat Berry Salad from Eating Well.
These are one of the world’s oldest fruits, dating back to Ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. Pomegranates are full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, protecting against high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease. These bright red fruits are in peak season from October through January, and keep in the fridge for up to two months. Pop these sweet-sour seeds raw or try this recipe from Chelsea’s Messy Apron for Pomegranate & Wild Rice Salad.
These are a surprisingly great option during the winter months. If the dark, winter days are getting you down, stock up on lemons, oranges, grapefruits, limes and clementines. Citrus fruits grown in warm climates are ready to be picked between October and March. They are packed with Vitamin C and flavonoids, which help reduce the risk of cancer. They also lower the risk for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, cataracts and Chron’s disease. Just peel it and eat it!
Winter squash peaks during late fall and winter, offering up healthy spoonfuls of Vitamin A, potassium and carotenoids. Squash continue to ripen once they’re picked, so slow down the process by storing them in a cool, slightly humid environment – they may last for 3 months! Squash is healthy, inexpensive and delicious. Try this recipe for Winter Squash Soup from Erren’s Kitchen.
Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite foods! They are available year-round, but are best in late fall. They are loaded with fiber, beta-carotene, antioxidants and Vitamins A and C. This delicious veggie even reduces the appearance of wrinkles and provides a more youthful appearance [Read more about foods to eat for healthy skin]. Try this yummy recipe from Cooking Classy for Garlic-Herb Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Parmesan.