Written By: Emma Squillace
Getting fruits and vegetables into our diets in the summer can seem so easy. There are ripe peaches, big containers of freshly harvested berries, and lots of vegetables just picked from the vine. Between fruit salads, vegetables on the BBQ, and watermelon for dessert, many of us get a good amount of fruit and vegetables servings into our days. This can be harder in the winter though, when fresh produce is harder to come by. Here are some ideas for keeping fresh fruits and veggies in everyday meals for you and your family.
Winter is citrus season, so try some new varieties of grapefruits and oranges. Not only will you get a good helping of vitamin C, but citrus is a way to add flavor to dishes without many calories. Orange segments make a nice addition to salads, and have you ever had broiled grapefruit? To try this, cut a grapefruit in half. Sprinkle each half with a little bit of cinnamon and sugar, and spread the topping around evenly. Put the halves under your broiler for just a few minutes (watch them carefully to prevent burning), and you’ll have a dessert when the sugar melts and starts to turn brown.
If you have a little more time one night to prepare dinner, think about trying artichokes. They’re fun to eat, but can take a little while to prepare. You can cut each artichoke in half and remove the choke (the fuzzy core) with a small knife. Rub the cut parts of the artichoke with a lemon to stop them from browning. You’ll also want to carefully cut the tip of each leaf off, because artichokes have little thorns on the end. Then arrange the artichokes in a baking dish, drizzle each artichoke half with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then bake, covered, in a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes.
You can use a low calorie dressing to dip the edible end of the leaves into, or make your own dip with plain yogurt, chopped herbs, and lemon zest.
If you’ve only had beets from a can, you may not be impressed. They can be syrupy and lack crunch. But winter is a great time to experiment with fresh beets. There’s so much variety you can find with this vegetable. Although most people think of beets as a vegetable you need to cook, this doesn’t have to be the case. Raw beets are excellent when grated. You can mix grated beets with vinaigrette, some roasted pumpkin seeds, and a little crumbled blue cheese. You can also rub whole beets with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, wrap well in foil, and then roast them. A 375 oven for 45 minutes (for small beets) to 60 minutes (for larger beets), will let you experience all the flavors of this vegetable without the unnecessary sweetness you get from canned beets.
Frozen over canned
If you’re really craving some of those summer fruits like blueberries, the ones you find in the store in the winter tend to be disappointing. Instead of looking to canned options, go with frozen. Frozen fruits and vegetables are the next-best option to fresh, in-season produce. The reason is that when produce is frozen, it’s harvested when it’s really fresh, and preserved right away by the freezing process. Often there are no additives or preservatives, because the freezing allows the fruits and veggies to stay fresh on their own. While you may not get the same experience eating raw fruit out of a frozen bag, you can put those berries in oatmeal, add fruit to a savory chicken dish, or mix them into yogurt.
It can be hard to fit in fruit and vegetables all year, but remember that winter has its own set of produce that is in season. Whether you commit to eating more citrus, make salads with cabbage instead of lettuce, or experiment adding pomegranate seeds to your meals, there are plenty of choices to explore. Healthy eating is one of the best ways to lose weight, but many times even a great diet isn’t enough. If you’re working on losing weight but are frustrated with a lack of progress, our team can help. Find out how our options can bring you more weight loss success by calling us at 855-690-0565.