Get Your Fruits & Vegetables During the Winter!

ChooseMyPlate was released by the USDA and suggests that you make 1/2 your plate fruits and vegetables at every meal.  Cold and snowy weather usually means fresh fruits and vegetables are hard to find.  They may also cost more money.  How do you provide fruits and vegetables for your family during these cold winter months?  Well, there is good news!  You always have options no matter what time of year it is.

Freezer Friendly
Chances are good that you won't find fresh green beans or berries without paying a lot of money.  Instead of fresh, you can find fruits and vegetables in the freezer section of your local grocery store.  Buy them on sale to save a few dollars.  Frozen fruits and vegetables last longer than fresh, so you can stock up and use them as needed and cut down on waste.  And the best news of all?  Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as healthy as fresh ones.

Canned Options
Canned fruits and vegetables are also great options during the winter.  Be aware of some of the hazards of canned foods.  Canned vegetables often contain sodium to increase their shelf life.  Be sure to rinse canned vegetables before eating. Rinsing will help remove some of the sodium.  Canned fruits are often packed in heavy syrup that can add extra calories.  Look for fruits packed in their own juices and are labeled "lite".  Drain canned fruits before eating them to help remove some of the syrup.

Seasonal Vegetables
Hearty vegetables such as turnips, beets and sweet potatoes are in season this time of year.  Use this time to try new vegetables for you and your family. Add spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice to squash or sweet potatoes and roast them in the often for a tasty winter treat!  Some leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and chard are also great this time of year.  On a cold day, make a stew that includes hearty vegetables that you and your family like to eat.

Don't skip your fruits and vegetables during the winter.  Be creative and try new recipes.  Include frozen, canned and in season foods for a hearty winter meal. 


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© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall