Healthy Foods to Incorporate in Your Diet For the Winter

Updated: Jan 28, 2019

I don't know about where you live, but it is COLD here in Columbus, Ohio. I'm definitely a spring and summer lover so this is not my favorite time of year. As the temperature drops, our nutritional needs change. Except for winter-sports lovers, people also become less physically active around this time of year. After all, when it’s cold and snowy outside, even a trip to a neighborhood grocery store can be a daunting task. Don't forget that its also cold and flu season, so staying healthy takes a bit more effort. Nutrition-packed fruits and vegetables that were plentiful during the summer may be in short supply—and be more expensive.

However, there are many delicious and affordable ways to ensure proper nutrition during the dark days of winter. These tips will help you maintain optimum health and please your taste buds.

Go for Beans

There are many varieties of legumes, including garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas), lentils, lima beans, and pinto beans. These hearty foods have something in common: they are packed with fiber and protein. Beans can be added to stews and soups, served in salads, and cooked and eaten by themselves. To reduce gassiness, soak them in water for six to eight hours and rinse before preparing.

Try Some Potatoes

Potatoes have a bad reputation due to their starch content. However, they are still full of vital nutrients. One potato provides large amounts of immunity-boosting vitamins like B6 and vitamin C. It also has good amounts of fiber and folate. Purple potatoes are great sources of anthocyanins, which are antioxidants with a variety of benefits ranging from keeping heart disease at bay to reducing inflammation. Adding carrots, parsnips, turnips, and other root vegetables to mashed potatoes is a delicious way to include vegetables in a wintertime diet.

Include Turkey

Turkey is not for Thanksgiving only. Lower in calories and high in protein, it can be added in sandwiches, soup, salads, stir-fry, and by itself. Try to ensure you are grabbing antibiotic free turkey for the healthiest option.

Include Winter Squash

Spaghetti, acorn, and butternut squash are only a few types of this colorful and nutritious vegetable. Winter squash is low-calorie and rich in fiber, vitamin A, folic acid, and vitamin C. Acorn squash has a large amount of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin B1, B6, and magnesium. Butternut squash is full of vitamins A and C. Leave off the butter and syrup and try a little applesauce or cinnamon.

Add Some Greens and Reds

Collard greens, kale, and swiss chard flourish in the winter. The frosty weather can also help reduce the bitter taste of kale. With healthy amounts of vitamins C, A, and K along with plenty of folate, leafy greens can keep our immune system in good shape. Red cabbage (a cousin of kale), contains few calories and lots of vitamin A and other nutrients which are important for eye health.

Don’t Forget Fruit

Citrus fruit are loaded with vitamin C, which we need a lot of around this time of year for sure. Grapefruit and oranges are also excellent sources of an important flavonoid named Hesperidin. It is known to raise HDL cholesterol (the good kind), reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad kind), and lower triglyceride levels. Also, if you have not tried pomegranate juice, you may want to add it to your regimen. It contains more antioxidants than any other kind. Studies show that pomegranate juice may help prevent free radicals from doing damage. It can also increase the flow of blood to the heart in people with clogged arteries.

By adding these yummy and nutritious foods to your menu, you can ensure that you get the nutrients that you need around this time of year. Enjoy! xoxoxo

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