2013-12-13 / Sports

Jen’s Fitness Forum

By Jen Font de Bon

These days most items in the supermarket are available year-round. However, just because you could doesn’t necessarily mean you should. There are many advantages to selecting fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables. First, produce that is in-season tends to be priced lower than out-ofseason crops because it is more abundant and grows closer to home. Also, in-season ingredients are generally more flavorful and pack more nutrients. Finally, using fresh foods at their peak helps bring variety and creativity to meals.

With wintertime comes a great spectrum of fresh produce perfect for keeping us happy and healthy through the cold, snowy months. Take advantage of what the season has to offer by choosing hardy root vegetables, sweet, juicy citrus and everything in between! Use the lists and tips below to help guide your diet this winter and notice the difference in how you feel.

FRUITS
Apples  Cranberries
Grapefruit  Kiwi
Kumquats  Lemons
Limes  Oranges  Pears
Persimmons  Pomegranates
Tangerines  Quinces

VEGETABLES
Artichokes  Beets  Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage  Cauliflower
Celery root (celeriac)
Chile peppers  Dried beans
Endives  Escarole
Fennel  Frisée
Garlic  Kale  Leeks
Mushrooms  Onions
Parsnips  Potatoes
Sweet bell peppers
Sweet potatoes
Swiss chard  Turnips
Watercress  Winter squash

HERBS
Bay leaves  Chives
Parsley  Peppermint
Rosemary  Sage
Thyme

GRAINS & LEGUMES
Chickpeas  Black beans
Kidney beans  Lentils
Oatmeal  Polenta
Quinoa  Rice  Spelt

TIPS

USE SPICES. Spices add taste and nutrition to meals and beverages. They warm the body, which makes them especially comforting in the winter. Cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, cumin, curry, ginger, and turmeric are a few delicious spices perfect for cold-weather recipes. Get inventive and try them in hot drinks, sauces or curries for a healthy boost in flavor.

SIMMER, BRAISE, AND SLOW COOK. Slow and gentle, simmering involves cooking food in a liquid, or cooking a liquid itself (sauce or soup, for example), at a temperature right below boiling. Root vegetables are best when simmered as the process allows them to cook through evenly. Braising refers to cooking meats and vegetables in a small amount of liquid. This method of cooking in low, moist heat over a longer period of time gives the food layers of flavor. Both simmering and braising allow for a significant amount of fat to be removed from a dish by skimming the cooking liquid before serving. Slow cooking is a convenient option ideal for creating warm and hearty dishes. Prepare ingredients in the morning; turn on the electric slow cooker and at the end of the day your meal is ready to enjoy. Great for stews, pot roasts, soups, and chili.

SOUPS: Soup is a winter staple. It’s comforting, healthy, and will keep both your waistline and wallet happy. Don’t be afraid to mix it up! Try leek and potato, parsnip with ginger and orange, or celery and bleu cheese. Also, be resourceful and use what you have leftover in the refrigerator for your ingredients.

SALADS: Salads aren’t just for summer. Many winter fruits and vegetables make for a great salad. Combine roasted sweet potatoes and oranges with red onion, garlic, fresh rosemary, spinach, pine nuts and olive oil. Or, try roasted beets, fennel, and walnuts with endive, spinach, salt and pepper. Dress lightly.

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