-- intro: I frequent my local farmer’s markets year round, and while I adore summer selections like berries, cherries, and melon, I also get excited for winter’s bounty. Here are five of my in-season favorites, why they’re so good for you, and easy, delicious ways to incorporate them into meals and snacks.
quicklist: 1category: 5 Winter Fruits and Veggies This Nutritionist Lovestitle: Beetsurl:text:
How to eat more: Include raw beets when juicing, or remove the skin with a vegetable peeler, shred or grate, and add to garden salads. Beets are also fantastic roasted, then drizzled with balsamic vinegar (note: cooking beets does diminish the folate content). Just peel, slice thinly, spread the slices on a roasting pan, and mist or brush with extra virgin olive oil. Roast at 400° F for about 25-30 minutes for two medium beets.
quicklist: 2category: 5 Winter Fruits and Veggies This Nutritionist Lovestitle: Brussels sproutsurl:text:
quicklist: 3category: 5 Winter Fruits and Veggies This Nutritionist Lovestitle: Cranberriesurl:text:
How to eat more: My go-to recipe for fresh cranberries is to whip up a simple sauce, which can be used as a topping for oatmeal, wild rice, steamed spinach, or even fish. I combine one and a half cups of fresh cranberries with a cup of 100% fresh-squeezed orange juice, swirl in a tablespoon of organic maple syrup, and simmer until the cranberries pop. Then remove from heat, and stir in a half teaspoon of cinnamon, quarter teaspoon of cloves, and a teaspoon each of fresh grated ginger and organic orange zest. Cool to room temperature, then serve or chill.
quicklist: 4category: 5 Winter Fruits and Veggies This Nutritionist Lovestitle: Grapefruiturl:text:
How to eat more: I love juicy fresh grapefruit raw, either “as is” or added to garden salads with toasted nuts. But when it’s cold outside, I also enjoy it roasted. Just slice in half, cut a little off the bottom so it won’t roll around, place on a baking sheet, pop it in the oven, and cook at 450° F until it looks browned. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon, fresh grated ginger, or even a savory herb like rosemary.
quicklist: 5category: 5 Winter Fruits and Veggies This Nutritionist Lovestitle: Pomegranateurl:text:
Fresh whole pomegranate, or pomegranate arils (seeds covered with juicy fruit), are still currently in season, and taking advantage of them may be advantageous for your health. Pomegranate has also been studied for its ability to lower blood pressure, fight inflammation, and decrease the risk of heart disease by preventing “bad” LDL cholesterol from becoming oxidized, a reaction that hardens arteries. Pomegranate has also been tied to helping osteoarthritis sufferers, preventing cancer from spreading, and this beautiful fruit contains natural substances called ellagitannins, which have been shown to protect against hormone-dependent breast cancer. Half of a medium pomegranate also packs 25% of the Daily Value for vitamin C, along with six grams of fiber, a quarter of the daily recommended minimum.
How to eat more: Sprinkle arils onto oatmeal, yogurt, garden salads, sautéed greens, baked or grilled salmon, cooked quinoa or wild rice, roasted squash or sweet potatoes. You can also use them as a garnish for celery stuffed with almond or cashew butter, fold them into melted dark chocolate, or spoon over a small scoop of coconut milk ice cream.
Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, is Health’s contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the Tampa Bay Rays MLB team, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics.