Summer brings to mind ripe, juicy fruits fresh from the vine and crisp veggies plucked straight from the patch, but there’s no reason why winter can’t be a tasty time for fruits and veggies, too. Once the winter gets colder and the days darker, there’s a whole host of produce you should look out for in the grocery store.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that people eat 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruit 2 to 3 cups of vegetables every day. However, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute found that most people fall short of meeting these guidelines, NBC News reported. The study found that fewer than 18 percent of adults in each state ate the recommended servings of fruit and fewer than 14 percent ate the recommended serving of vegetables. The source noted that eating five servings of fruits and veggies per day decreases the risk of stroke, cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Though your favorite fruits and vegetables may be out of season in the winter, there’s a wide variety of produce that is in its prime during the cold weather months. As an added benefit, in-season produce is typically cheaper than than those out-of-season. Toss these winter-loving fruits and veggies into your cart the next time you’re at the supermarket. Stock up on winter fruits and veggies this season.
Citrus fruits: These Vitamin C powerhouses reach peak quality during the winter. Oranges, tangerines, clementines and grapefruit are plentiful and ready to brighten your day with a burst of immune system-boosting vitamins, and are easily transportable to work or school as a snack. Lemons and limes are also having their moment, so pick some up to add to your water to make daily hydration more flavorful or add some slices to your mug to zest up your evening tea ritual.
Cranberries: Cranberries are front and center during the holiday season, but they shouldn’t be forgotten once the new year begins. Fresh cranberries are a tasty snack for those who love tart treats and are packed with free radical-fighting antioxidants. Try tossing them into a smoothie with other fruits or using them in syrups for desserts or oatmeal. If fresh cranberries are too tart for your taste buds, try the dried variety – they’re perfect for snacking on, heavenly paired with cheese and are a great add-on to salads.
Kiwi: Kiwis may be small, but they’re powerful – just one of these fruits delivers 85 percent of your daily value for Vitamin C, not to mention more than 30 percent of your daily value for Vitamin K, which supports healthy blood flow and bone strength. You can peel and then slice the kiwi, but an easier way to enjoy this winter fruit is by simply slicing it in half and scooping out the fruit with a spoon.
Pears: Sometimes it seems like oranges and apples steal the fruit spotlight, but pears deserve a place in your winter fruit rotation. Sure, they’re not shiny or bright like other fruits, but their skins might be concealing a health superpower. According to WHFoods.com, pear skin contains three to four times as many cancer-fighting phytonutrients as the flesh, along with about half of the fruit’s fiber – which adds up to 22 percent of your daily fiber value. Look for Anjou and Bosc varieties in the supermarket – they’re the best for snacking on and baking with. Kiwis contain nearly all of your daily value for Vitamin C – try tossing them in a smoothie.
Sweet potatoes: Satisfying and great with cinnamon and a little brown sugar, sweet potatoes are the perfect comfort food for winter. One cup of this veggie contains more than your daily recommend value for Vitamin A and half your daily value for Vitamin C. It’s a filling side to beef and poultry, can bulk up a chili and can be sliced and baked in the oven to make fries.
Winter squash: No list of cold-weather veggies could be complete without winter squash – it’s in the name! There are actually a whole host of winter squashes: Acorn squash, butternut squash and spaghetti squash are some common varieties. Winter squash is chock-full of alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, two essential antioxidants, and also contain lots of Vitamins A and C and fiber. Roast squash with onions or mix with rice or quinoa for a hearty and rustic dish perfect for winter.
Kale: As the days get darker, so should your veggies. Kale helps the body detox and contains anti-inflammatory flavonoids. Its crunchiness and thick leaves can make your usual lunch salad more filling, and its bitter flavor pairs well with rich Caesar dressings. You can also saute kale in olive oil and serve with salmon or mix into stir-frys.
Avocados: Avocados have exploded in popularity in recent years and with good reason – they’re creamy and filling but still good for you. It contains fiber, Vitamins B6, C and E and potassium, along with healthy fats. Switch out mayo for avocado in a sandwich or spread on toast and drizzle with olive oil for a satisfying breakfast.