Get your fruits and veggies even when the snow’s flying and the temperature plummets
Getting a healthy dose of fruits and vegetables is important all year long. But it’s even more important during the winter months when cold and flu viruses come out to play in full force. The vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables keep your immune system strong to help keep sickness at bay.
Cold, gray winter may not offer the bounty colorful produce of its sister seasons, but there are plenty of ways to get the fruits and vegetables you need to stay healthy.
OhioHealth dietitian Jenalee Richner, RD/LDN, shares some tips for how to get delicious produce during the cold months of winter.
Go With What’s in Season
Believe it or not, there is a bounty of fresh produce that’s harvested in other places during winter months for highest freshness. Winter is actually the best time for Florida oranges, for example.
Although winter-harvested produce (and summer favorites grown year-round in sunny climes) at your local grocer are likely not from an Ohio farmer, they’re just as healthy. Try making these winter-harvested options a part of your diet:
- Brussels sprouts
- Snow peas
- Sweet potatoes
- Winter squash
- Mandarin oranges
Go With Frozen
Frozen fruits and vegetables may not have that fresh-picked look, but they’re picked and flash frozen so they hang on to most of their nutrition and taste. Frozen produce has even more benefits:
- It’s chopped and ready to go.
- It’s easier to buy in bulk, making it easier to keep a supply on hand.
- It often saves you money because it’s less likely to go to waste, and you can stock up.
- Frozen produce is perfect for your soup, stew, stir-fry, smoothie and crock pot recipes. Check labels to make sure there aren’t added fats or sugars.
Go With Canned
For many families, canned goods are a staple in the pantry. A wide range of fruits and vegetables come conveniently packaged in cans. However, cans have been among packaging tagged for containing Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that’s been linked to cancer and birth defects.
The good news: More manufacturers are using cans with BPA-free linings, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says BPA that may occur in canned food is safe at the current levels.
Watch for high salt content in canned vegetables and added sugar in canned fruits. Choose low-salt and sugar-free options, and be sure to drain and rinse before using them.