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How to Eat Fresh in the Winter

Fitday Editor

Eat fresh. We’ve all heard it before. Eating fresh vegetables and fruits when they grow naturally provides numerous benefits. Often, seasonal fresh produce is less expensive and more flavorful. In addition, you’re also helping to support local farmers flourish, which in turn allows them to grow more fresh food to make available to more people. But eating locally and fresh in the winter? When the temperature starts to dip it can seem more challenging to find your favorite produce. And buying out of season could require you to dig a little deeper into your wallet. But, believe it or not, there are a number of fruits and vegetables that call winter their own. And if it’s freshness you’re concerned about, there are still many great options to cook satisfying and wholesome meals even in the dead of winter.

If it’s vegetables you’re looking for, winter squash is a great place to turn. Some common varieties include butternut, acorn and spaghetti. The great thing about squash is they will keep for several weeks to months if stored in a cold, dry place. They also are packed with carotenoids and vitamin A. Kale, while it is available typically year-round, has the sweetest taste in the winter. This hearty green is a rich source of minerals such as calcium and vitamin A. Vegetables such as broccoli, sweet potatoes, radishes and rutabaga also thrive in the winter as well.

When it comes to fruit, citrus is at its peak during the winter months. Each choice is loaded with vitamin C, providing the perfect combat for those winter sore throats and sniffles. Citrus fruits are also packed with great amounts of fiber, which are essential for normal growth and overall nutritional well-being. Fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes and kiwifruit are excellent citric sources in the wintertime.

If you’re still struggling to find your favorites fresh, you can also turn to the frozen food aisle. Recent studies have shown that frozen fruits and vegetables may even be more healthful than some of the fresh produce sold in supermarkets. Why? Fruits and vegetables that are picked for freezing tend to be processed at their peak ripeness, when, as a general rule, they are most nutrient-dense. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables that are destined to be shipped to the fresh-produce sections around the country are typically picked before they are ripe. This gives them less time to develop a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals.

In addition to exploring the supermarket, you can also get to know your local farmers markets and food co-ops. Many assume that these summertime favorites close down for the winter. Though the selection may not be as abundant during the colder months, oftentimes vendors will simply move indoors to sell their Fall and Winter harvest. Community-Supported Agriculture is another alternative method for local food distribution that has gained a lot of traction over the last few years. In joining a CSA, you can purchase a share or membership in a farmer’s harvest, and every week receive a basket of seasonal produce, meat or poultry from that farm.

So whether you’re stocking up on fresh produce, or enjoying your summertime favorites frozen, the winter brings with it plenty of opportunities eat fresh and healthy. Farming is a year-round endeavor, so enjoying fruits and vegetables should be as well!

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