Vegetables in the Winter

Boy it’s cold outside, and we have another 6 weeks of winter to look forward to!

I find that I have a harder time getting my full daily servings of vegetables in my diet during the winter months, all I want to eat are warm comfort foods – cold salads and smoothies just don’t do. I am trying to make more of an effort to incorporate sautéed and roasted vegetables into my meals to make up for the lack of greens and coloured vegetables that I eat more of in the summer months. The best part is that you can prep and cook vegetables and enjoy leftovers for a couple of days, great for meal prep time.

My favourite is to toss some seasonings on vegetables and roast them in the oven. With some items requiring less time than others I add different items at different times (estimating the extra time required) and by the end they are all perfectly done and ready to enjoy. Try to avoid over roasting them – soft, limp veggies are just no fun!

I’ve also been trying to get more creative with my vegetable selections, the above tray has roasted: sweet potatoes, fennel, Brussel sprouts, beets and okra. Don’t be afraid to try something outside your comfort zone, as I tell my kids – you’ll never know till you try it.

I love to use leftover roasted vegetables to make Goodness bowls for a quick meal.

Goodness bowls are a great lunch or dinner idea, add a bottom layer of greens, then add in a layer of whole grains (this bowl had ancient grains) add in your warm roasted vegetables, you can add a protein and drizzle on a favourite dressing. Your dressings can be home-made or ready-made, in the above bowl I used an avocado jalapeño lime dressing that I made – recipe at the end of this post.

Get creative and have fun with your vegetables, the more variety you add the less likely you’ll be of getting bored with the meals.

A few warm vegetable recipes to follow:

 

Roasted Vegetable Platter:

Cauliflower “Steaks”:

  • olive oil
  • Montreal steak spice
  • garlic powder
  • sea salt

Parmesan Carrot “Fries”:

  • olive oil
  • dried garlic and herb seasoning
  • parmesan cheese

Roasted Vegetables:

  • sugar snap peas, red pepper and red cabbage
  • Sirracha pink salt
  • minced garlic

Oil and season the vegetables separately and place them on a lined baking tray. Roast in the oven at 400ºF for 15 minutes, gently turn over the cauliflower steak and toss the other vegetables half way through cooking time. Return pan back to oven and continue roasting for an extra 10 minutes.

** you do not need to use the same seasoning I did, use combinations you enjoy, and don’t be afraid to experiment with new flavours.

Skillet Vegetables:

Another fun way to prepare veggies on a cold winter day – skillet fried. Wash and chop up some of your favourite vegetables and sauté them in a skillet.

In the above picture I used:

  • sweet potatoes
  • carrots
  • Brussel sprouts
  • broccoli
  • spinach
  • red onion

Heat skillet and add 1 tbsp. coconut oil or ghee, add fresh minced garlic and sauté for 1 minute,  add in your vegetables and sauté.  Add in your seasoning of choice (I used sea salt, black pepper and dried basil) and continue to sauté till the vegetables are cooked to your preference.

Enjoy the vegetables on their own or as a side dish with some lean protein.

Avocado Jalapeno Lime Dressing:

  • 1 avocado
  • 2-3 jalapeno slices ( more or less to taste)
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Add all ingredients into a blender and pulse till smooth.

 

REMEMBER: get creative, have fun and the more varied colours of vegetables you include the more phytochemicals your body receives to help fight off infections and free radical damage. Refer to Eat The Rainbow for more information about the antioxidant properties of various coloured fruits and vegetables.

 

 

The Dirty Dozen

The Dirty Dozen

The Dirty Dozen

 

Many have heard this term in regards to what we eat, but here is a quick explanation of what the dirty dozen means; what foods fall into this category and what you can do about it.

The dirty dozen refers to 12 common fruits and vegetables that many of us eat regularly. We often hear about pesticides being used on our fresh produce, and unfortunately some produce need higher doses than others. Fruits and vegetables are being continually tested for pesticide contamination and levels of pesticide exposure, the 12 fruits and vegetables listed below have been sample tested and proven to contain the highest levels of pesticide exposure and residue.

The “Dirty” Dozen Most contaminated: (8 fruits & 4 vegetables)

  1. Apples
  2. Peaches
  3. Nectarines
  4. Strawberries
  5. Grapes
  6. Raspberries
  7. Pears
  8. Cherries
  9. Spinach
  10. Celery
  11. Sweet Bell Peppers
  12. Potatoes
This does not mean that these 12 fruits and vegetables should be eliminated from your diets, they each provide an abundance of nutrition, but it does mean you need to take a little more precaution when preparing to eat them. Organic fruits and vegetables are grown in less toxic soil and are not exposed to pesticides. If you are able, it is always better to eat organic, especially the above 12 fruits and vegetables. If organic is not an option for you, you should be extra diligent in the washing of all fruits and vegetables but especially the above 12. There are mild soaps specially designed for the cleaning of produce, they can be found at most supermarkets.
The “Clean” Dozen Least Contaminated: (5 fruits & 7 vegetables)
  1. Pineapples
  2. Mangos
  3. Bananas
  4. Kiwi
  5. Papaya
  6. Sweet Corn
  7. Avocado
  8. Cauliflower
  9. Asparagus
  10. Onions
  11. Peas
  12. Broccoli
Fruits and vegetables should continue to be the main component of your daily diets, their nutritional benefits and healing properties are abundant. Include as many colours of fruits and vegetables for even better benefits, refer to Eat The Rainbow for more information.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, Michael Murray ND

 

Eat The Rainbow

Eat The Rainbow

Eat The Rainbow

We keep hearing about “adding more colour” to our daily diet and are encouraged to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. What is the reason for the different colours and what are the benefits of the rainbow?

Fruits and vegetables are packed full of essential vitamins and minerals that should be included in our daily diet, however the colours of the fruits and vegetables are also important. The different colour pigments of fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants that are vital to achieve and maintain good health. The more colours we include in our meals, the more antioxidants and nutrients we provide our body.

Studies show fruits and vegetables contain a number of substances known as phytochemicals that work together with antioxidants to provide what we need to fight various diseases including cancer. Individual pigments are loaded with numerous antioxidants that help the body defend against the free radicals that may cause damage to our cells and lead the way to chronic diseases.

What better reason to increase the number of fruits and vegetables we consume than to better our health and the health of our loved ones.

Fruits and vegetables are always best eaten raw, that’s when they provide the most nutrients and phytochemicals. When cooking them, remember to avoid boiling, as nutrients get lost into the boiling water and drained away – unless you are making soup or are otherwise using the boiled water as broth or sauce.  The best way to cook vegetables is to lightly steam, bake or lightly stir fry. If you are unable to use fresh vegetables then opt for frozen over canned and pickled. Some vegetables provide different benefits when eaten raw or cooked. More information on individual fruits and vegetables with their benefits and tips on cooking and storing will be shared over the coming months.

I have included a quick reference of fruits and vegetables categorized by colour. Make your meals as colourful as you can by adding in at least one ingredient from each category

Don’t be afraid to try something new – you never know if you’ll like it until you give it a chance.

Aim to try one new fruit or vegetable a week – have fun with them and be creative! 🙂

Eat The Rainbow

* Let me know if you would like an email of this chart.