The Fitness Guide

Rosie Gomez's Guide to Getting Fit!

4 Healthy Winter Produce for Your Cold Weather Menu

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Winter is rough for many reasons. The weather is cold and uninviting, the amount of light diminishes, and we respond to these stressors by binging on carbs, sweets, and other unhealthy foods.cold weather vegetables

So what’s the solution? While much of it centers on maintaining a certain level of self-control and willpower, a portion of the answer may lie at our local grocery stores and farmers’ markets. Fresh and healthy produce is not only limited to the spring and summer months. Wintertime harvest offers up a great deal of tasty options that are fresh and healthy.

Revamp your wintertime menu with these healthy and tasty items, and prepare to chase those cold weather blues away.

1. Potatoes

The humble potato is often dismissed outright due to its high level of starch, but these vegetables are not only tasty but they also bring a number of essential vitamins and minerals to the table. Potatoes are high in potassium, folic acid, and magnesium, and even boast a fair amount of protein. The sweet variety boasts a great deal of beta carotene as well. Whether you choose the sweet ones or the plain white kind just eliminate the butter and cream that you might be tempted to add and you have a versatile and healthy dish for your winter table.

Parsnips2. Parsnips

For the uninitiated parsnips might be passed over as slightly anemic carrots, but these long, white veggies offer a vitamin punch and they’re quite tasty as well. They are at their peak during the fall and winter months and come loaded with fiber, vitamin C, and potassium.

Parsnips lend themselves well to purees and soups, so the possibilities are endless. Some home chefs like to roast the parsnips with some crisp, fall apples until they’re both tender and combine them into a sweet and savory soup. Add some homemade bread and you’ve got a wintertime meal to remember.

3. Squash

Almost everyone is familiar with the most famous of the fall and winter squash — the pumpkin — but this type of winter vegetable comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Each has a number of unique aspects, but the health benefits are all very similar.

Squash boasts an impressive amount of beta carotene, as well as fiber and potassium. Additionally, the recipe possibilities using squash are endless. Butternut squash is delicious when baked with olive oil and garlic, and acorn squash that is roasted, cubed, and tossed with radicchio, lentils, and goat cheese results in a wonderful winter salad. Take your pick of any of the squash recipes you come across and you can’t really go wrong.

4. Pomegranates

Pomegranates are a strange fruit, but one of the most unusual things about them is the fact that they are harvested in the fall and winter. As one of the oldest-known fruits in the world, they are among the healthiest, as well. While getting the seeds out of the fruit might be quite a task, those seeds are packed with heart-healthy antioxidants and are high in fiber too.

If extracted seeds aren’t your thing, find some fresh pomegranate juice at your local store or farmers’ market. Just make sure it’s sugar free and you can still reap the health benefits.

It’s perfectly normal to want to hibernate during the winter and eat all of those foods that you’ll regret in the spring. However, reach for some of these winter veggies during your next grocery visit and find more to love about the season.

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