And just like that, December is underway. It’s time to start focusing on a new phase of nourishment: Winter produce. Think—root vegetables, healthy comfort food, and warming the body from the inside out. Amidst the craze of the holidays, winter is an opportunity to slow down. Get back to the basics. Opt for foods that feed the soul (and boost immunity!). In ancient times, humanity would retreat to the comfort of their dwellings. Time was spent in front of a fire, eating foods harvested from nature. We made time to care for our bodies. Instead of engaging in strenuous activities, we embraced several months of peaceful rest.
Spiritually speaking, winter is about self-examination. It’s an opportune time to lean into positive change, inspiration, and dream up new ideas. Speaking of new ideas, let’s dive into what fruits and vegetables are in season in winter. In turn, you’ll be inspired to dig into winter-themed recipes while adding variety to your fridge. Comfort, but with a healthy twist.
Ayurvedic Winter Diet
This time of the year, our bodies crave nutrient-dense, filling foods. Hello, roasted butternut squash soup, fall harvest salad, and gnocchi with chicken sausage and thyme. And don’t forget dessert. Because of the cold and dry atmosphere, both our external and internal bodies become dry. Other than deeply rich moisturizers, consider emphasizing Kapha foods. These are warm and oily. Ironically, diet culture promotes raw foods and smoothies as a post-holiday detox, but Ayurveda encourages the opposite. Instead of salads and cold foods, nourish the inside of your body with warm, cooked foods. Incorporate extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and ghee.
Rather than sip on cold or iced drinks, go for warm or hot beverages (room temperature is also fine). Start your mornings off with a comforting tea, rich in spices like ginger, cinnamon, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, tulsi, cardamom, black pepper, and clove. Or, this immune-boosting turmeric latte. It helps increase heat and circulation within your body. Otherwise, soups, dals, chili, and stews are all hearty and healthy meals for winter.
What Foods Should You Eat In The Winter?
According to traditional Chinese medicine, eating seasonally and locally is key. With that in mind, here are micro and macronutrients to focus on throughout the winter:
Fruit: dates, figs, kiwi, tangerines, cooked apples, apricots, and lemons
Green veggies: cooked spinach, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and kale
Root veggies: onions, leeks, winter squash, pumpkin, turnips, potatoes, and sweet potatoes
Whole grains: rice, buckwheat, rye, amaranth, and oats
Healthy fats: macadamia nuts, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, ghee, butter, soft cheeses, cottage cheese, warm milk, flaxseed oil, and olive oil
Legumes: brown and red lentils, tofu, tempeh, and miso
Meat: beef, chicken, lamb, and venison
Herbs: ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper
Along with root vegetables and whole grains, warming herbs like ginger and cinnamon are loaded with antioxidants to boost your immune system (key as temps drop). Warming proteins, like beef and lamb, are best cooked slow and low. Over all, a diet of seasonal veggies and fruit, high-quality proteins, grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes is essential for overall health. Think: Mediterranean diet. Year-round, aim to eat your protein first and your starchy carbs after, as this can help with managing blood sugar.
what are Root Vegetables?
Helping you align with the winter season, consider incorporating as many root vegetables as possible. Root vegetables are great for grounding because they (quite literally) grow underground. As their name suggests, root vegetables have roots that extend deep down within the earth. These roots anchor the plant in place, providing a strong foundation for their growth. Sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, onions, parsnips, turnips, garlic, radishes and rutabagas are all root vegetables. These can all be cooked in warm dishes throughout the fall and winter seasons, aiding in satiation and energy.
Winter Produce guide
A wonderful repertoire of colors, tastes, and textures, there is a variety of fruits and veggies in season in the winter to add to your grocery cart. Below, you’ll find 10 fruits and vegetables in season in winter and delicious recipes to cook with them.
Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Balsamic by Love & Lemons. This beet salad recipe is a stunning fall or winter side dish. Goat cheese, apples, and arugula fill it with a delightful mix of textures and flavors.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts by Downshiftology. These Brussels sprouts are addictively crunchy and the perfect side dish for almost any occasion. Roasting the Brussels sprouts in the oven turns them crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and brings out their subtle sweetness.
Shaved Fennel and Celery Salad by Platings + Pairings. This fennel and celery salad comes together quickly and has such a delicious light lemon vinaigrette and wonderful crunch. It’s the perfect side salad for rich and hearty dishes like pasta or braised short ribs.
Vegan Collard Greens by Real and Vibrant. These vegan collard greens are simple enough for a weeknight meal but have enough flavor to serve to guests or as a holiday dish. You can whip up this tasty side dish in less than 30 minutes.
Grapefruit Yogurt Cake by Life is But a Dish. A simple yet flavorful cake with notes of grapefruit. Perfect for a holiday brunch.
Fall Harvest Honeycrisp Apple and Kale Salad by Half-Baked Harvest. Tossed with a caramelized shallot vinaigrette, this salad will become a dinnertime staple. It’s nourishing, delicious, and incorporates beautiful winter produce.
Winter Fruit Salad by Love To Be In The Kitchen. This winter fruit salad is a colorful dish to brighten up any holiday meal or party. Fresh pineapple, kiwi, mandarin oranges, apple, pear, and pomegranate arils are tossed in a honey-lime poppy seed dressing.
Healthy Tomato Basil Soup by Wellness with Edie. This creamy tomato basil soup is hearty, sweet, and savory. It’s easy to make, and it tastes even more delicious the next day. Pair it with a toasted sandwich or sliced baguette. It’s naturally gluten-free and vegetarian.
Garlic Herb Smashed Potatoes by Joyful Healthy Eats. These delicious potatoes are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. It’s an easy appetizer recipe that’s filled with fresh garlic and herb flavor.
Walnut Sage Pesto Pasta with Roasted Delicata Squash by A Beautiful Plate. Whole wheat pasta is tossed with homemade walnut-sage pesto and topped with roasted delicata squash. This vegetarian pasta recipe is perfect. It comes together quickly, but is elegant enough to be served for special occasions.
Images courtesy of Unsplash.