Forget the powdered vitamin C mixes – citrus fruits are in season and they provide all the vitamin C you need to keep colds and flus away. These fruits are also high in minerals and phytochemicals, which may help lower your risk for cancer. Get your citrus fix by eating grapefruit for breakfast, snacking on oranges in the afternoon and adding fresh lemon juice to marinades and dressings.
Kale is an excellent source of potassium and folate. It’s also super versatile. Add some into an omelet or toss a handful into your morning smoothie. It’s great in salads, soups and stir fries. You can also bake the leaves into kale chips for a crunchy snack.
Winter squash is chock full of fiber, magnesium, beta carotene, and vitamins C and B6. Make a nutritious – and tasty – meal by substituting spaghetti squash in your favorite pasta dish. You could also try blending butternut squash into soup or adding it to your favorite chili recipe. In the mood for something sweet? Bake an acorn squash that’s drizzled with maple syrup.
Ginger is available year-round but it’s at its freshest during the fall and winter months. This superfood adds a punch of flavor to any dish while helping to improve digestion, soothe upset stomachs and boost immune systems. Try grating a little into a smoothie or stir fry. It’s also a great addition to a pot of tea.
Citrus fruits aren’t the only source of vitamin C. Apples are another way to get this important nutrient. They also contain pectin, which can help reduce cholesterol levels. Pack an apple and you have an easy snack whenever hunger strikes. They’re also delicious when baked with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Sweet potatoes contain high levels of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that fights inflammation. Bake up a batch of sweet potato fries or serve them roasted or mashed. A sweet potato casserole satisfies a sweet tooth. Get creative and bake up a few for breakfast – then load them up with diced veggies, lean protein and/or an egg.
Beets require a bit of prep work – they need to be washed and peeled before cooking. But it’s worth the effort because they bring so much nutrition to the table. Beets are high in folate, potassium and beta carotene and are delicious roasted or blended into a smoothie. They can also be pickled or served in a salad. When preparing them, don’t toss the beet greens – they can be washed and added to a salad or sautéed for a simple side dish.
High in vitamins K and C, Brussels sprouts also contain folate, manganese, potassium and vitamin B6. Try shredding them to make a crunchy salad or sauté them for a flavorful side dish. They’re also an excellent pizza topping. For an unexpected holiday appetizer, roast them whole and serve with a Greek yogurt dip.
Pomegranates are high in polyphenols, which are known to improve heart health, fight infection and improve memory. They also add a festive pop of color to food and beverages. Use the juice to braise meat or add to salad dressings and marinades. You can also sprinkle the seeds atop roasted or sautéed vegetables or mix into your favorite grain-based salads.
Don’t reserve cabbage for St. Patty’s Day. Adding it to your plate is a great way to get a healthy serving of vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium and calcium. The simplest way to prepare it is to give it a quick stir fry to wilt the leaves. But you can also use the leaves to prepare stuffed cabbage. Prepare a filling using your favorite lean protein and a mix of veggies and wrap in cabbage leaves. Top with a tomato-based sauce and bake until cooked through.
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Looking to get the most bang for your nutritional buck? Load up your plate with seasonal superfoods that are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Dig into a healthy taste of winter! View slideshow