By Carol Anne Simpson, KSC Dietetic Intern
Fruits and veggies are lacking in many of our diets. 76% of Americans did not meet our fruit intake
recommendations, and 87% of us did not meet our vegetable intake goals according to a recent CDC
survey. In the summer months it seems like a breeze to sneak in fruits and veggies – fresh berries to
pick, juicy peaches to snack on, crisp salads are more than welcome at meals.
Winter seems to makes sneaking in fruits and veggies a bit harder to do. The cold, dark days make fresh fruits and veggies less appetizing – everyone is looking for some comfort food. It’s more difficult to know what is in season, and how to turn what is available into a delicious snack or meal.
This post is focused to help you figure out why eating in season is important, what is available, and
highlights tips (and a delicious recipe) to consume more seasonal produce.
Why should I eat my fruits and veggies in season?
Most of us have heard the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables. Each are valuable in different ways- most are filled with fiber, vitamins and minerals to help us meet our daily nutrition goals. Eating produce in season carries even more benefits! When picked and consumed at peak ripeness, produce is packed to the max with even more nutrients, as opposed to those picked out of season and shipped long distances to reach your market.
Eating in season is often simultaneous with eating foods grown locally. Choosing produce harvested by your local farmers supports your local economy and cuts down on the pollution caused by shipping produce long distances. Another benefit? Eating seasonally is almost always easier on your wallet!
Choosing in season produce can be valuable to our health and diet. Aside from consuming produce picked at peak ripeness, eating seasonally helps us to break routine and consume more variety! There are so many fruits and vegetables out there to try, choosing those in season is a perfect time to try out some unique choices!
So what is in season anyways?
There are charts all over the internet helping you to know what fruits and vegetables are in season – some are even broken down by what is available regionally. The table below is a good start for winter produce – you can find some of this fresh produce at your nearest farm stand, and may find even more at your local grocery store.
Let’s get it into your diet.
Winter can be a cold, dark season – leaving most of us wanting to snuggle up on the couch after a busy day. As the season changes most of us crave warm foods full of flavor, herbs and spices. Fruits and vegetables can be turned into warm, delicious comfort food. Try having a warm salad – roast some winter veggies, add some in season fruit, and top it on a warm bed of grains. Soup is another easy way to sneak in more winter produce. If you want to get a little more outside of the box, try whipping up the recipe below.
Other ways to include more winter produce are by stocking up on ‘grab and go’ items. Throw some snow peas, sliced citrus fruit, or carrots into easy to-go containers to snack on throughout the day.
This winter, do better for your body, your economy and your environment – eat in season!
Makes 10 servings
1.Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While waiting for water to boil, wash cabbage head. Once boiling, add head of cabbage to water. About every 45-60 seconds outer cabbage leaves will separate, remove leaves as they separate and set aside.
2.In a large bowl, combine ground beef, rice, onion, kale, salt and pepper. Place about ¼ cup of this mixture in the center of 1 cabbage leaf. Roll up and tuck in the sides.
3.In a separate bowl, mix together spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, and Worcestershire sauce.
4.In a roasting pan, lay extra cabbage leaves along the bottom. Next layer cabbage rolls. Pour about ½ the spaghetti sauce mixture on this layer of cabbage rolls. Repeat the process.
5.Bake, covered at 350 degrees for approximately 2 hours. *Can use a slower cooker and cook on low for 8-9 hours.
Warm Winter Salad
Makes 4 side servings
Warm Winter Veggie Pizza
Makes two 10" pizzas
CDC Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report – July 10th, 2015
Nutrition 411, 5/15/2015 – Eating More Fruits and Vegetables during the Winter http://www.nutrition411.com/articles/fruits-and-vegetables-eating-more-during-winter-months