Eating seasonally can lead to more delicious, flavorful food that may actually be healthier, better for the environment, and cheaper to buy. Let’s learn more in this guide to your winter produce.
Eating seasonally can be part of living a healthier lifestyle, but many want to know: What does ‘eating seasonally’ really mean, and why it is so important for our health and the environment?
By having a greater understanding of the growing season, you can eat more delicious, flavorful food with higher nutrient content that’s better for the environment and cheaper to buy.
That’s a win-win-win for everyone!
Eating seasonally means eating produce that is in season during a specific time of year. There are a few we are inherently familiar with: think biting into a crispy apple in the peak of Fall, or a juicy plump peach, sticky and sweet in the heat of summer.
But what about all the other fruits and vegetables in the colder months?
Citrus fruits are in season down South, which means that they are really affordable and extra delicious this time of year. From grapefruits and oranges to lemons and limes, it is time to take advantage of these delicious fruits. Not only are citrus fruits high in vitamin C, but they also contain a great deal of dietary fiber which help you to stay fuller, longer.
One of the most beneficial traits of the citrus fruit is their high antioxidant content that helps protect the body from free radicals. They contain plant-based flavonoids which are antioxidants that have been shown to help reduce inflammation in the body and have cancer-protective properties. While drinking juices can be a great way to have your citrus fruits, eating the whole, raw fruit may result in consuming nearly five times more flavonoids.
Citrus fruits aren’t the only delicious fruits in season this time of year! Be sure to try pomegranate, persimmons, kiwis and mango too.
Squash is traditionally harvested in the fall, but continue to be a staple throughout the winter months because of its longer storage shelf life. Whether you reach for a butternut, acorn, or spaghetti squash, you are bound to find something that is not only delicious, but nutritious as well.
Found within that beautiful orange flesh are the many healthful benefits of nutrients that make it tasty and nutritious. While different varieties of squash have unique and individual nutrient profiles, most all squashes have been found to contain high amounts of Vitamins A, C, E, and B6, plus minerals such as magnesium, potassium and copper.
Overall squash has been found to be able to help strengthen the immune system, improve the quality of eyesight, build stronger bones, protect against heart disease, and may even help prevent cancer. You see that vibrant orange color in butternut squash? You can thank beta-carotene for that, an important nutrient for eye health that creates this beautiful color.
Carrots are a delicious staple in the homes of many, and for good reason! Whether you are eating them raw or deliciously cooked, carrots pack a strong punch with their high beta-carotene content that produces their beautiful orange color similar to squash.
They are also rich in Vitamins C, K, and B8 as well as folate, iron, copper, potassium and manganese.
CABBAGE & CAULIFLOWER
Both cabbage and cauliflower are making big comebacks in today’s modern food scene. These days, people use cauliflower to make just about anything, including cauliflower rice and even cauliflower pizza crust!
As a cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower is rapidly gaining popularity due to its versatility and mild flavor. This is a very welcomed trend as it is also highly nutritious – just one serving contains nearly 77% of the daily recommended value of vitamin C!
As one of the most underrated, unsung vegetable heroes, cabbage is not only high in vitamin K and vitamin C, but it is a good source of dietary fiber and even plant-based protein.
As hearty as they are delicious, there are endless ways you can use winter greens. Some of the most widely used winter greens include chard, collard greens, rapini, and the oh-so-popular kale.
Withstanding even cold temperatures, kale actually takes on a sweeter flavor in the snow. Known as a ‘superfood’, studies have shown that kale has the ability to provide the body with risk-lowering benefits for cancer, cholesterol-lowering benefits, and reinforces your body’s natural detoxification system. One cup of cooked kale provides over 1000% of your daily value of vitamin K and nearly 100% of your daily value of vitamin A & C!
With all that variety, eating seasonally in the winter is filled with possibilities!
Adapted from the original article.
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Emily Kyle, MS, RDN is a nationally-recognized Registered Dietitian, writer, and media personality based in Rochester, NY who focuses on helping women break free from the vicious cycles of dieting. By helping women develop natural healthy habits without deprivation and monotony, Emily shows how all foods can fit into a healthy lifestyle. Learn more at Emily Kyle Nutrition.