Getting your recommended daily dose of veggies is difficult at the best of times. But in winter? When it’s -20 degrees outside? Eating healthy can feel impossible! Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore, these 5 tips can help keep you on track with your health objectives.
Look for in-season vegetables
Sweet potatoes, squash, and turnips are fall-winter staples. No matter the season, you can always find mushrooms, potatoes, and cabbage. Even peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers can now be found all year long thanks to greenhouse growing. To learn more about in-season vegetables, you can look for harvest calendars from your region on the web. For example, if you’re from Quebec, Mangez Québec has a very detailed one you can find here (in French only).
Photo by Maira Matsui
Opt for frozen vegetables
While it might be harder to get the same variety and freshness with your vegetables than in the summer, the frozen food aisle can help. Although frozen fruit and veg have a bad rep in many people’s minds, some frozen veg could be healthier than their non-frozen counterparts! Especially in the winter, fresh food has to travel long distances to reach your local grocer. To ensure the produce arrives in one piece (and without being overripe), the food is picked before it has a chance to ripen. This lack of time, paired with the long travel conditions, leads to produce that doesn’t pack the same nutrient punch as if it had been left to mature on the stem. In contrast, frozen fruit and veggies are picked when they are at the height of their nutritional profiles. The freezing method locks in those benefits, giving you the healthiest fruit and veg there is.
Photo by Tohid Hashemkhani
Make canned vegetables
Defy the laws of nature by canning summer and early autumn vegetables. If you are into gardening like us, this is also a way of experiencing the fruit of your labor all year long. New at this? There are multiple internet resources to help you get started. Here’s one that covers the basics very well.
Find new ways of integrating veggies into your recipes
The thought of steamed spinach is enough to make anyone reach for a slice of pizza instead. But what if your pizza was made of veggies? Problem solved! Finding ways to sneak vegetables into your old comfort classics is an easy way to boost your immune system and ensure you’re staying healthy. White pizza dough can be swapped for a cauliflower crust; your meaty shepherd’s pie can be transformed into a vegan, veggie-packed shepherdess pie; you can diversify your pasta recipes with beet pesto or butternut squash sauce.
Soups are also a great way to incorporate veggies. You can be creative, but if you need inspiration, you can find multiple recipes here.
Recently, vegetables have been sneakier, making their way into sweet recipes. You are probably familiar with the chocolate-zucchini combo (we have a delicious choco-zucchini muffin recipe), but have you tried adding veggies to your smoothies? Here are a few delicious combinations1:
Kiwis + bananas + spinach
Strawberry + Raspberry + beet
Peach + mango + carotte
Banana + blueberry + cauliflower
Mango + apple + kale
And last tip: try setting yourself realistic goals that are easier to incorporate into your normal routine. If it is easier for you to eat more fruits, do it. The key to being healthy is to diversify your diet and eat the rainbow!