Winter is on its way out the door, but a number of your favorite fruits and vegetables may still be out of season. We all know that produce is important, but nobody wants to eat a tomato that tastes like cardboard — and that may be what’s available in the grocery store at this time of year. So what can you do to continue getting the nutrients you need?
You need fruits and vegetables every day. Produce provides nutrients that you might not get from the other foods that you eat. What’s more, eating fruits and vegetables with every meal can help you manage a healthy weight, reduce the risk of certain types of cancer and disease, and help you maintain good overall health.
The exact amount of fruits and vegetables you need depends on age, sex, and physical activity level. On average, adults should eat 2 cups of fruits and 2-3 cups of vegetables each day.
Here are a few ways that you can continue to eat delicious produce during the winter.
Eat canned or frozen fruits and vegetables.
People often think that fresh produce is always healthier than canned or frozen fruits or vegetables, but that’s not always the case. Canned and frozen produce is packaged at peak freshness to ensure that these foods maintain nutrients and flavor.
Fresh produce that you find in supermarkets and grocery stores during the winter is often trucked across the country or shipped in from hothouses. While these fruits and vegetables can still provide nutrients, sometimes canned and frozen produce may actually be more nutritious.
When you choose canned or frozen produce, check and make sure the packages you choose don’t contain lots of added salt or sugar.
Try fresh produce varieties that grow during the winter.
This is a good opportunity to try new foods and get different nutrients than your go-to produce provides. In-season produce also tends to have more nutrients, better flavor, and can be less expensive than produce that’s not in-season.
Here are a few fruits and vegetables that hit their peak during winter. Look for these options in the produce section at the grocery store!
- Sweet potato
- Brussels sprout
Visit a winter farmers market.
While you may associate farmers markets with the spring and summer, many farmers markets continue through the winter. Ozark Natural Foods hosts the Fayetteville Farmers Market through March 25th.
The trees may be bare, but there are still plenty of great fresh produce options in the winter! Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables every day is an important part of staying healthy and maintaining wellness. So is scheduling regular visits with your primary care physician! Schedule an appointment with a MANA physician today!