In the Northeast, Super Storm Sandy followed by a Winter Wonderland quickly ushered out watermelon, strawberries and asparagus as seasonal options to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. As it gets colder and the season undeniably changes, so should your shopping list.
Focus on fruits and vegetables that provide health benefits, especially vitamin-rich, immune-boosting nutrients, all year-round. My Top Ten will help you maximize taste and availability, while minimizing cost.
Sweet potatoes: A good source of vitamins A, C, B6, pantothenic acid, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese. Many children love sweet potatoes when they are babies, but then lose the taste for them, probably from lack of exposure. Keep sweet potatoes on the menu! They are great baked, roasted, whipped or as a ‘French fry’ substitute.
Mushrooms: A good source of riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, potassium, phosphorus, copper and selenium. Personally, mushrooms are one of my favorites, but not a winner with everyone in my family! I like to use them in soups, pasta dishes, sautéed or in salads, but there are a lot of ways to use mushrooms! You’ll find some more ideas here.
Kale: This veggie hosts a bounty of nutrients, including Vitamins A, C, K, thiamin, riboflavin, B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and manganese. Try kale chips in the oven, sautéed or in salads.
Broccoli: Rich in vitamins A, C, K, folate, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Steam florets, roast, stir fry, or eat raw with dip. If you haven’t tried Cream of Broccoli Soup, you’ll enjoy this recipe! P.S. I made it Monday night–It’s super simple, fast and the kids loved it.
Leeks: Loaded with a host of nutrients including vitamins A, C, K, B6, folate, calcium, iron and magnesium (and more!). You can roast leeks or my personal favorite, use them with onion as a base to flavor a variety of soups.
Clementines, Mandarin Oranges, Oranges, Tangerines: All these citrus fruits are packed with vitamins A, C, E, niacin, potassium and copper. I keep them in a bowl on the counter (in fact, I can’t keep clemmies stocked!) for those off-schedule requests for food.
Grapefruit: Not for seniors only! Pink grapefruit (as opposed to white) is sweeter, but both types are full of vitamin C, thiamin, B6, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium and potassium. Peel and eat, or add to salads.
Kiwi: Packed with vitamins C, E, K, folate, potassium and copper. Sure, you can peel a kiwi and slice, but one of the easiest ways to eat them is to cut off the top near the stem, and spoon out the flesh. This sure does make it easy to pack in lunches!
Pomegranate: Vitamins C and K, folate, potassium, copper and manganese–a lot of punch in this fruit. Also, this is a fun fruit for kids to eat. Eat the arils alone or add to vegetable and fruit salads, yogurt, or cereal. If you don’t want to mess with the labor of harvesting arils, you can find them ready to eat (and my review) in stores.
Avocado: Vitamins C, K and folate, not to mention a rich source of healthy fat. Make guacamole, spread on sandwiches instead of mayonnaise, add to salads, or just cut in half and sprinkle with fresh lemon, olive oil, Kosher salt and pepper.
Have you tried all of these? Any other ideas for preparing or eating them? Share in the comments below!
And don’t forget to join The Fearless Feeding Movement!