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Winter Fruits and Vegetables to Brighten Up Your Plate

December 4, 2023  22:28

Winter comes with delicious fruits and vegetables. It's time for citrus fruits, pumpkins, beets, broccoli, and more. They're great for incorporating seasonal produce into your diet. Learn about winter fruits and vegetables, their nutrient profiles, and how to eat them more often.

Seasonal fruit and vegetable consumption can be cost-effective and environmentally friendly.

Winter fruits include but are not limited to citrus fruits, pomegranates, cranberries, and pears, which contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant compounds.

Winter vegetables include but are not limited to sweet potatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, turnips, and beets.

Eating five portions of seasonal fruits and vegetables a day can support your health.

Fruits and vegetables provide fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant compounds. Eating enough fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of diseases, including diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

You should consume enough fruits and vegetables for a healthy and balanced diet. Fruits and vegetables provide fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant compounds with various health benefits.

 

The 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend adults to consume 2–3-cup equivalents of vegetables and 1.5–2-cup equivalents of fruits daily. However, only 1 in 10 American adults consume the recommended amounts of either fruits or vegetables.

Although technology and transportation allow us to eat any fruits and vegetables at any time, consuming seasonal produce carries its importance. Seasonal produce is generally more nutrient-dense as it's not picked long before its prime time. Besides, it tastes superior, is cheaper, and is better for the environment.

Winter fruits contain antioxidant vitamins that can support the immune system in winter months. Winter offers a wide range of fruits, including oranges, grapefruits, pomegranates, pears, cranberries, and kiwifruit.

Daily intake of 1.5–2-cup equivalents of fruits is recommended as a healthy and balanced diet.

Fresh winter fruits can be great for juicing; however, eating them whole is better for blood glucose regulation and fiber intake. Still, you can use winter fruits in different ways. You can make fruit compotes, add to salads for sweetness, and even savory dishes to combine different flavors.

Citrus fruits are known for their high vitamin C content. They’re great to juice or add refreshing and zesty flavor to dishes, salads, and desserts. Citrus fruits include oranges, grapefruits, mandarins, tangerines, clementines, pomelos, lemons, and limes.

Oranges contain vitamin C, vitamin A, beta-carotene, folate, potassium, and, in smaller amounts, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium. One medium orange is one portion of the fruit. Eating the fruit whole is better for blood glucose control and adding fiber to diet.

Grapefruits contain high levels of vitamins C and A, potassium, and antioxidant compounds. If you can't consume grapefruit due to its bitter taste, removing pits or mixing it with sweet fruits can help. For one portion of the grapefruit, eat half of a medium fruit.

Keep in mind that grapefruit can interact with certain medications. If you’re taking medications, check the prospectus to make sure there is no drug-food interaction.

Cranberries contain vitamins C, A, E, and K and high levels of proanthocyanidins, which are linked to healing properties over urinary tract infections. They also contain pectin, a type of fiber that can be used as a thinking agent. So, you can make gelatinous sauces with cranberries. One portion of cranberries is equivalent to half a cup of fruit. If you’re eating dried, it's a quarter of a cup.

Pears contain vitamins C and K, copper, and potassium. They have many different types with different flavors. While Bartlett is sweeter and juicier, Bosc is less sweet and more crisp. One medium pear is one portion of the fruit. Pears can be a great addition to your salads, cheeseboard, and oatmeals, and they are delicious when grilled, too.

You have many options for winter vegetables. Some are winter squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, beets, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage.

According to the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, adults should consume 2–3-cup equivalents of vegetables.

Cruciferous vegetables contain vitamins C and K, folate, potassium, calcium, and antioxidants. They contain sulfur-containing compounds, which cause an unpleasant smell while cooking. Luckily, smell can be avoided by roasting or sauteing.

Cruciferous is your way to go if you want to make vegetable meals that are creamy. For example, you can make creamy mashed cauliflower that can serve as a delicious dip when combined with your choice of herbs. Cabbage, as a cruciferous vegetable with leaves, is excellent for making veggie wraps and cabbage rolls.

Root vegetables contain vitamins A, C, K, and B, along with minerals such as potassium and magnesium. Adding root vegetables to your plate increases the meal's energy, fiber, and antioxidant content. You can stew them or add boiled root vegetables to salads.

Root vegetables are so versatile that you can make many things. You can make homemade chips from beets, desserts with carrots, smoothies with beets, and so on.

Fruits and vegetables are essential parts of a healthy and balanced diet. Consuming them in season can be a budget and environmentally-friendly way to increase the intake of fruits and vegetables, which have the fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants they need to function correctly.

Consume at least five portions of fruits and vegetables daily to provide your body with the fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants it needs to function properly.

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