By Lisbeth Irish, RDN, CDN, CDCES
During the winter months, it can be difficult to keep fruits and vegetables in your diet.
There can be fewer fruit and vegetable choices when the local growing season is over. Also, the cost can go up and the quality can go down due to the need to transport produce from warmer climates. But with a little creativity, it’s possible to budget your seasonal purchases and find new ways to add fruits and vegetables to your winter diet. Here are a few tips:
- Buy root vegetables that have been harvested and stored locally, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beets, etc.
- Use frozen vegetables. Did you know that they are as fresh (sometimes even fresher) as the produce you buy? They are picked at the peak of their growth and frozen quickly, preserving their nutrients.
- Look for unsalted canned vegetables or rinse regular canned vegetables thoroughly to reduce the salt content.
- Shop for citrus fruits when they are on sale.
- Purchase fruit that has been stored for the winter, like apples and pears
- Dried fruit – like raisins, dried cranberries, and berries – are great to have on hand, especially if there’s a winter storm brewing.
Try to eat a “rainbow” of colors to keep make your plate beautiful and get as many nutrients as possible. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:
- Make a large batch of vegetable soup. Freeze it in smaller containers and heat a bowl for a warm way to start your meals.
- Cook some frozen vegetables, drain and add them to your scrambled eggs.
- Roast some root vegetables with herbs for a delicious addition to your dinner meal.
- Cut up some apples, add a little cinnamon, and a small amount of sugar or non-nutritive sweetener. Microwave the apples until they soften and you have a warm, crustless apple pie!
For more ideas, visit SNAP-Ed NY at https://snapedny.org/.
Lisbeth Irish, RDN, CDN, CDCES is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist with the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA). She has over 25 years of experience working as a Registered Dietitian in a variety of settings and currently oversees the NYSOFA SNAP-Ed Nutrition Education program for older adults in New York State. Lisbeth is also a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist. She attended NY Medical College and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition from SUNY Oneonta. Lisbeth enjoys reading, nature, and traveling. Lisbeth says she feels very fortunate to be working with such a dedicated group of professionals at NYSOFA.