By: Elizabeth Villalta, MS, RD, LDN, Duke Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery
Winter may not seem like the best time of year for getting fruits and vegetables into your diet, but this is a great time for cabbage-family vegetables and citrus fruits.
In the cabbage family, brussels sprouts, collard greens and kale are all plentiful this time of year. All are excellent sources of vitamin C (to help ward off that cold) with brussels sprouts also being a good source of fiber and folate (also known as vitamin B-12). Collard greens and kale are excellent sources of vitamin A and good sources of calcium.
Brussels sprouts can be easily roasted or steamed and added to a pasta dish. They can also be candied by dusting with brown sugar and heating in the microwave. Collard greens can replace lettuce as a base for your salad or added in stir fry. Kale can be a side dish by simmering with broth, garlic and salt. Kale can also be steamed and seasoned with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Try adding it to soup or substituting it for spinach.
Clementine, grapefruit, kiwifruit, papaya, passion fruit, oranges and pomegranate are citrus fruits that are easily accessible this time of year. Much like the cabbage-family vegetables, citrus fruits are all high in or excellent sources of vitamin C. Many citrus fruits are also good sources of fiber and high in vitamin A. Kiwifruit and pomegranate are good sources of potassium.
All these fruits can be eaten fresh or added to oatmeal, yogurt, salad, chicken wraps and smoothies. If you want to get creative (or need to be sneaky adding in new foods) try making a citrus salsa to top your fish or chicken.
Don’t forget frozen, canned and dried fruits and vegetables can be enjoyed all year. Be sure to look for fruits without added sugar or syrups. Canned items should be low in sodium.