It’s February. Our bathing suits are packed away; out of sight and out of mind. It’s so easy to slip into bad habits, filling up on sugar and fats – but your diet doesn’t have to suffer over the winter months.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) recently published a list of five winter superfoods you can use to keep your diet rich in a wide range of nutrients, and FMH Registered Dietitian Emily Spear agrees.
“These vegetables and fruit are readily available and seasonal during winter and are sure to crowd out some of the junk in your winter diet,” Spear says. “Work them into your meals; you’ll add fresh flavor and a burst of vitamins and nutrients.”
Winter Squash: Acorn, buttercup, spaghetti and turban squashes are all available throughout the winter season. They’re a good source of iron and riboflavin and high in vitamins A and C. Make sure you’re getting a ripe squash – you shouldn’t be able to scrape the skin off with your fingernail. There are as many ways to prepare squash as there are varieties. Eating Well has cooking tips and healthy recipe options.
Collard Greens: If you’ve tried collard greens in the summer and found them too bitter, give them another try. They have a sweeter taste in the colder months. Collard greens are nutritionally similar to the green-of-the-moment, kale, with high amounts of folate, vitamins A and C. They’re a good source of fiber, calcium and antioxidants. How does Pasta with Greens and Tomato Sauce sound?
Pomegranate: The pomegranate is packed with antioxidants – even more concentrated than green tea and red wine. They’re delicious on their own or on a salad. Try this recipe for a great mix of flavors and textures: Endive and Pomegranate Salad.
Brussels Sprouts: When prepared well, Brussels sprouts can be truly delicious. They’re also low in calories, a good source of fiber and folate, and a great source of vitamin C. Look for firm, compact sprouts with bright green heads. Take a chance on this oft-maligned vegetable with this recipe: Brussels Sprouts with Walnut-Lemon Vinaigrette.
Sweet Potatoes: No need to douse these babies in sugar and marshmallows (although, admittedly, yum), sweet potatoes are naturally sweet and full of vitamins A and C. If you eat the skin you’ll get even more fiber than you’ll find in a bowl of oatmeal. Go wild and crazy: combine two superfoods in one recipe by trying Wild Rice Pilaf with Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts!