Warm Foods for Cold Weather

Happy 2018!

I hope everyone’s new year is off to a GREAT start! #twentygreat-teen. 

If you’re like many people, myself included, one of your new years resolutions may be to “eat better.” This can include a variety of healthy changes such as taking the time to meal prep, cutting out processed foods, and/or eating more fruits and vegetables.

But eating right in the winter can be a challenge! When the weather gets chilly, we often turn to hearty comfort foods to help warm us up. However, comfort foods like casseroles, freshly baked cookies, and creamy soups are often high in calories and fat. Those extra calories and fat can be trouble for your waistline, especially if weight loss if one of your new years resolutions.

Almost all recipes these days have healthy substitutions and swaps you can use. Try making a low-fat Mac n’ Cheese using fat-free milk instead of cream, or Double Chocolate Brownies using applesauce in place of oil and eggs. Check out websites like EatingWell.com and CookingLight.com for a variety of recipes.

When it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables, people tend to think summer and fall are the only seasons to get the best produce. It is true that the colder months may be limited, but that does not mean you can’t eat delicious produce in the winter.

Vegetables like kale, potatoes, and winter squash; along with fruits like pomegranates, grapefruits, and oranges are all at their peak during the winter months. These foods pack a lot of great nutrients as well as being lower in cost compared to out of season produce.

Here are some ideas for warming up fruits and vegetables during the winter season:

  • Bake fruit such as pears or apples- top with honey, cinnamon, pecans, and a dollop of greek yogurt.
  • Roast butternut squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and cauliflower-  make them savory or sweet, depending on the herbs and spices you choose.
  • Make soups with lots of vegetables- almost any vegetable can be added to a pot of soup.  Soups also very versatile from chili to chicken noodle. Stick to soups that are broth-based instead of creamy, and try using lower sodium broth as well.

Also remember you don’t need to always use fresh fruits and vegetables. Frozen, canned, and dried fruits and vegetables count the same as fresh ones. For canned foods, buy fruit that is in water or light syrup and vegetables that say “reduced or no sodium.” (You can also drain and rinse the food.) This will help cut out any unnecessary sugar and salt from your meal.

For a full list of winter produce and more tips to increase your fruits and vegetables intake check out: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/whats-in-season-winter

Though the weather outside is frightful, eating right can be delightful! Cheers to a new year!

-Vanilla

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