10 Healthy Winter Foods
Sara Suchy Dec 4, 2012 (updated Oct 16, 2013)
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Believe it or not, the winter months provide quite the bounty of fresh and healthy foods.
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A taste of Winter
The weather is chilly and the delicious tastes of spring seem ages away, but not everything tasty goes dormant in the winter. Here are 10 delicious, in-season and healthy fruits and vegetables just in time for the rush of not-always-so-healthy holiday parties.
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This simple, delicious, healthy and portable fruit hits its peak in the winter months, though you see it in grocery stores all year. Bananas bring loads of vitamins B6 and C, fiber and potassium and can be a great healthy snack or doctored up as part of a meal or dessert. Try fresh, ripe bananas in fruit smoothies. Overripe bananas are perfect for banana bread or muffins.
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Blood oranges will give you a hefty helping of vitamin C and fiber. A ripe blood orange will feel heavy for its size. It will keep at room temperature for several days. Their deep red color and sweet flavor make them a great holiday addition to green salads and fruit salads. And it’s not just blood oranges that are in season, but also clementine oranges, grapefruit, and plain old oranges.
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Pomegranates are known for their juice and their seeds. They can be a little cumbersome to peel and eat, but very much worth the effort. Pomegranate juice and seeds are high in vitamins A and C and are another festive addition to holiday salads. They are also delicious additions to cocktails and champagne for those who like their adult beverages to be ‘healthy’. Pomegranates also make great dressings.
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Strawberries may be out of the question this time of year, but rhubarb is in season. Rhubarb is rich in calcium, fiber and vitamin C and will store in the refrigerator for several days.
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Don’t be put off by the high fat content--avocados are a great, healthy way to add a significant kick of vitamins A, C and E, and potassium to a meal. And the fat they do contain is the good kind--unsaturated fat. A ripe avocado will yield slightly to gentle pressure and should be uniform in color without any bruises or blemishes. Avocados are best eaten raw and are great in salads, on sandwiches and, of course, they’re the main ingredient in guacamole.
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The artichoke is a nutritional gold mine as far as winter vegetables are concerned. It’s an excellent source of fiber and vitamin C and also gives you a hefty helping of magnesium, folate, copper, potassium and phosphorus. A good artichoke should feel heavy for its size and have tightly closed buds with soft green or purple leaves.
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Bok choy is traditionally found in Asian dishes and is a great source of vitamin C, vitamin A and folate. It should have dark green, glossy leaves and bright white stalks. Avoid heads that have brown spots; this usually means the bok choy has been stored at too low a temperature and has lost a lot of flavor.
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You think you don’t like Brussels sprouts, but you may actually love them and just don’t know it yet. Brussels sprouts are a wonderful source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A, folate and potassium and just happen to be delicious. Look for small sprouts with tight-fitting leaves and no browning or yellowing.
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Turnips won’t win any awards for being the most interesting of winter root vegetables, but they can surprise you. Turnips are very high in vitamin C and stay fresh for a week or even longer if refrigerated. Look for turnips that are small or medium in size and about 2 or 3 inches in diameter.
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Watercress is a type of plant that can be added to salads or used as a garnish that also happens to be very high in vitamins A and C. The stems should be crisp with glossy, dime-sized, dark green leaves attached.