Eating healthy in the New Year is something many people resolve to do, but few stick with it for any number of reasons. Regardless of the reason why people tend to fall off of their healthy eating habits, and resort back to an unhealthy lifestyle, we know it’s because many people would rather eat the things they’re used to, rather than educate themselves on the things they need to implement in their lives. Resveralife has taken some of the guess work out of the deal for you and we have created this handy guide on healthy, seasonal fruits, vegetables, and other things that are seasonal and fresh at a farmers market near you.
Winter Fresh Foods
Nuts are always in season in the winter time. Whether you love peanuts, brazil nuts, cashews, walnuts or almonds, nuts are generally harvested in the fall and are fresh and ready to go in the winter. You can opt for buying them in cans, jars, or fresh from a farmers market or supermarket. There are so many different things you can do with them to use in food preparation and recipes that the possibilities are virtually endless. For instance, you can make nut butters, salads with slivered nuts, stuffing recipes, and baked good recipes, just to name a few. They are loaded with protein and magnesium, as well as Vitamin E.
Oranges are one of nature’s sweetest delights, and they pack a mean punch in terms of anti-oxidant fighting power and Vitamin C. One of nature’s purest forms to ward off sickness and keep it away, oranges are an incredible addition to any diet. Eat them peeled and separated, throw them in a salad, add them to a smoothie or create a delicious fruit salad. There are many varieties available during the winter months. Many of the oranges produced and sold in the United States come from Florida, California, and South Africa.
While it may take an acquired taste for many to enjoy the bitterness of a turnip, they are certainly worth incorporating into one’s diet. They are loaded with anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic properties, and may even ward off certain forms of cancer due to their glucosinolates, which are a sulfur based compound known to fight certain types of cancer. You can sautee them, boil and mash them, cube them up and roast them, or even put them in a soup. There are many different uses for this amazing root vegetable – try them for yourself, and we’re sure you’ll agree they’re quite tasty!
Spring Fresh Foods
While the name may be off putting to some, swiss chard can be likened to kale – one of nature’s super foods – and Spinach – another super food. Swiss chard is extremely versatile and is best served heated either by steaming, boiling, in a soup, or even in a quiche. It’s a leafy green vegetable worthy of all the praise in terms of health benefits, because it provides high doses of Vitamins K, A and C and is an essential part of any healthy diet.
Spinach was made famous by the loveable character in the television show, Popeye. This powerhouse food is also extremely versatile, and you can eat it raw in a salad, which is the most healthful, or opt for incorporating it into an omelet, soup, lasagna, or steamed. One of our favorite ways to serve spinach is steamed under a piece of delicate white fish with a small amount of herb finishing butter. Yum! This amazing super food is chock-full of phytonutrients, minerals and vitamins. Eat up to your heart’s delight!
If you’ve never tried the amazing herb that is basil, you are most certainly missing out! Basil is an aromatic fresh herb which is perfect for incorporating into many different types of dishes, or even eaten raw. Try it in spaghetti sauce, or chopped with fresh roma tomatoes, whole mozzarella cheese, diced with a drizzle of olive oil on toasted Italian bread for a delicious bruschetta. Basil has plenty of magnesium which has been shown to alleviate and ward off certain types of migraine headaches, and is also fantastic for the heart and its vascular function.
Summer Fresh Foods
Strawberries are beautiful, ripe and juicy during the summer months. Many varieties are grown and harvested in Florida, and ship to locations all throughout the United States. Whether you opt for fresh or frozen strawberries, you will be doing yourself a favor by finding ways to include them in your daily diet. We love them because they pack a punch in the anti-aging process – and we of course love that fact – as well as promote healthy eyes and memory support. They even offer support to the heart and bone health. Some simple ways to include them in your daily diet are to slice them in half and add to your breakfast cereal, in a smoothie, in yogurt, or eat them on their own for a healthful snack.
Broccoli is known to be one of the best anti-inflammatory foods out there, and also boasts some fantastic antioxidant benefits as well. It’s loaded with Vitamin C which is essential to skin, hair and overall health. You can do a variety of things with fresh broccoli, such as serve it rinsed and raw with a low fat dressing as a snack, in a salad, or even in a no-cook soup. You could sautee’ it in olive oil with garlic and serve it as a side dish, or throw it into your favorite healthy stir fry.
Summer squash, much like zucchini, thrive on the warm summer air and sunlight. They are a great addition to any summer meal! It’s loaded with manganese, but also has plenty to boast in the carotenoid department – which is essential for good and healthy vision. There is also a potent dose of Vitamin C to keep you healthy or fight illness. You can cook summer squash by steaming, boiling, or incorporate it into your favorite healthy starches, such as cous cous or wild rice dishes.
Fall Fresh Foods
Carrots are a fabulous addition to almost any dish – and are also an important part to any healthy diet. These root vegetables are harvested in the fall and winter months, and store well in a refrigerator. They can be diced for cooking, cut into thin shreds and eaten raw in a salad, or even mashed once steamed and used in recipes such as muffins or cake recipes. Carrots are packed with Vitamin C and carotenoids, which play an important role in preventing oxidative damage to the body – and they also help promote good, healthy vision! There was actually some truth to the question when the eye doctor would ask you as a child, “Are you eating your carrots?”
Onions provide loads of flavor and essential vitamins to your daily diet. They are a favorite among chefs as they add the perfect flavor accompaniment to any recipe. You could slice them thin and serve them in a salad, or even use them in your favorite soup. Why not try a great onion soup recipe? You could even do something fun and make an onion and cheese bread or use them in your favorite rice dish. They pair well with just about anything! Onions provide protection to the heart and blood. There are old wives tales surrounding this miraculous vegetable, stating claim that if you cut an onion in half and place them on the windowsill or counter in your kitchen, they will absorb germs and fight infection. Also, another old wives tale surrounding onions states that if you cut an onion in half and place the cut side against the feet of someone who is sick, and then place a sock over their feet, by morning, the onions will have turned black with the infection removed from the sick individuals body. We aren’t sure how much truth there is to this, but it sure is fun to think about trying it!
Ginger has long been adored by those in Asian cultures for its natural medicinal properties such as soothing a stomachache, heartburn, or even a sore throat. Ginger is a root which is essential to the Asian way of cooking, and has become quite popular in Western civilization as well. You can make a simple ginger tea by boiling water and allowing slices of fresh ginger to steep in the water. You can discard the ginger or eat it for health benefits. You could also use it in your favorite rice, fish, or chicken dishes for some interesting flavor. Ginger provides sulfur containing properties which help fight infection and may possibly fight certain forms of cancer.
Eating fresh and seasonal fruits, vegetables, and herbs promotes overall health and well-being, and is great for the economy. The fresher your food is, the more health benefits it has been able to hang onto. When you buy foods which aren’t local, you are essentially wasting money on foods which would be better spent on those that are locally sourced and still have their beneficial health properties.
We at Vine Vera hope this guide has helped you learn more about the different foods available to you seasonally, and wish you the best of luck in making good, healthy food choices in 2015!