As winter all too quickly approaches, my stomach is more prepared for the change in seasons than my bundled, but somehow still frozen body. I’m constantly craving winter comfort foods. Mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and beef stew are reoccurring daydreams as I sit in class wondering what I’ll have for dinner. While my appetite loves indulging in hearty winter meals, my body doesn’t always feel great after a midwinter feast. While fresh fruits and vegetables characterize summer, winter seems to be marked by meats and starches.
After a moment of denial, I realize that my body feels so sluggish in the colder months because I’m not eating nearly as many fruits and vegetables as I do in the summer. While it is true that there are less seasonable fruits and vegetables in the winter months (the days of berries are long gone), there is plenty of vitamin and nutrient filled produce still in season. Check out these fall and winter items that will help you get that cold-weather fruits and vegetables fix.
Pumpkin: You don’t have to eat only pumpkin pie or pumpkin-spice lattes to satisfy your pumpkin cravings. While pumpkin is often enjoyed as a dessert (check out this Better-Than-Starbucks Pumpkin Bread), the squash is also great served with pasta or roasted with other vegetables. Pumpkin also has nutrients that are good for your vision and heart.
Brussels Sprouts: Even though brussels sprouts were one of the vegetables that I hated as a kid, Pinterest has a variety of brussels sprouts recipes that will have the adult-you salivating (I personally like mine roasted with bacon). The tiny cabbage like vegetable is packed with protein, vitamins and antioxidants that will keep you healthy during cold and flu season.
Apples: Fall wouldn’t be fall without a variety of apples to choose from, and grocery stores are teeming with them. While everyone knows an apple a day keeps the doctor away, many don’t know that apples are also a great way to start off the day. They have high doses of natural sugars, which will wake you up for that 8 a.m. Psych lecture. Apples are also good for your teeth, give them a natural boost of whitening.
Cauliflower: Cauliflower is often ignored because many people don’t know how to prepare it, but the vegetable is packed with nutrients and has been linked to cancer prevention. Cauliflower can simply be roasted, but if you’re looking for a new winter soup to try, check out this Curry Cauliflower Soup.
Clementines and Grapefruits: While many popular fruits are best in the summer, citrus fruits are better in the colder months. Clementines are a great on-the-go healthy snack and are available in bulk. While grapefruit may be a bit more daunting given their size, it’s worth it: grapefruits are one of the top metabolism-boosting foods around.
Try adding these fruits and vegetables to your carb-heavy winter diet. While I’m not saying you have to stop eating Thanksgiving leftovers for every meal… balanced meals can be good, too.