The healthiest, most cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to shop is to buy what’s in season. It’s a common myth that no fruits and vegetables come into season in winter. In fact, a lot of produce peaks during the cold weather months. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson Sara Haas, RDN told the Huffington Post that these cold weather fruits and vegetables, “…offer nutrients that are quite beneficial to your health.” It’s important to prepare them correctly, as to maintain the most nutrients and lose the least through the cooking process. In the wintertime many root vegetables come into season, turnips among them. These root vegetables are jam-packed with nutrients including carotenoids, vitamin’s-C, E and K, folate and fiber. Turnips are hard and so it’s difficult to cook away the nutrients. They are great in soups and stews. Here, the nutrients become part of the liquid and are easily ingested. Roasting turnips with olive oil is also quite healthful and delicious. As an added bonus, the olive oil helps you absorb the vitamins in the turnips.
In southern Italy, fennel is often eaten after a large meal to aid in digestion. It has a delightful mild licorice taste, and is very good for you. It contains folate, vitamin-C, potassium and fiber. You can chop it up and add it to salads or caramelize it, roasting it over low heat to add to a chicken breast or turkey burger. Brussel sprouts though available year round tend to peak between fall and winter. These are full of antioxidants, vitamin-C and fiber. Brussel sprouts are fabulous roasted in the oven with a little olive oil and salt and pepper, as a snack rather than chips or popcorn. Collard green, Swiss chard and kale come out in the wintertime. These are great sources of calcium. Each one is great sautéed as a side dish in olive oil with some garlic and scallions. They are also good in soups and salads. You can get citrus fruit all year long, but a lot of it is in season during the winter. These are great sources of vitamins-A and C, as well as soluble fiber. Don’t be discouraged by the winter months and let your plate get as dreary as it is outside. There are lots of great produce options available.