5 Winter Foods to Stock in Your Pantry
If you've found yourself still reaching for holiday cookies and treats, it might be time to start thinking about healthier eating now that we're in the new year. With the holidays over and the long winter months ahead of us, there are plenty of options for home-cooked and healthy meals. Here are a few food options for you to grab next time you head to the grocery store.
Oats are a whole grain with a whole lot of vitamins, minerals, and are high in fiber and protein. They also contain a type of soluble fiber that can help reduce your cholesterol and blood sugar, improve your digestion and increase feelings of fullness. A great way to start your day is with ½ cup steel cut or old fashioned oats topped with fruit and nuts for additional nutritional value.
If you've never tried legumes (lentils, chickpeas, peanuts, etc.), now's the time to add them to your diet to help create a delicious meal. Many winter soups call for different kinds of beans and lentils and they're a great alternative to meat. Legumes are also a rich source of fiber and protein and will help you feel fuller longer.
Dark leafy greens
Kale, spinach, collard greens, and bok choy are some leafy greens that can give a nutritious boost to your winter diet. They contain vitamins like potassium, calcium, and iron, and have the added benefits of high fiber and protein without adding many carbohydrates, sodium, or cholesterol. Leafy greens also have many antioxidants which may help your body fight off various types of cancer.
There are so many different types to choose from - acorn, butternut, and spaghetti just to name a few- but the list goes on and so does its nutritional value. Loaded with nutrients like potassium, vitamin C, and carotenoids, squash will help keep you full and help fight against infection and illness.
Yes, please, for more cheese! Cheese, and other dairy products, in moderation are a great source of calcium and vitamin D, a vitamin that may help your body reduce depression symptoms. If you're not spending enough time outdoors soaking in the sunlight, you likely need to increase your vitamin D intake. Just make sure to stay away from any cheese-flavored foods, which will not contain the same, if any, benefits of real cheese. Also, watch your portion sizes, as cheese is a concentrated source of fat and calories.
We have access to many types of produce around the world, but it's still a great idea to choose “in-season” produce. Produce that is grown in-season and locally will be richer in antioxidants and phytochemicals, plus it will taste better! Because the winter months typically include staying inside and less activity, the needs of our bodies change. Make sure that you have a well-balanced diet year round to ensure you're getting all the nutrients your body needs to thrive in any season.