Eating local, seasonal veggies keeps your body and mind healthy! It’s what we humans have been doing for thousands of years and the scientific studies proving vegetables benefits are numerous. A recent article in the Chicago Tribune summarizes current research that proves having a more plant-based diet can lower cancer risks.
Winter vegetables, like broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, turnips, winter squash, and sweet potatoes, are wonderful sources of folate; vitamins, A, C and E; potassium; and fiber. Not only are they great for you, you feel good eating them! The fiber in vegetables produces a feeling of fullness and can effectively replace high-calorie foods in meal plans. This can be especially important during the holidays when we tend to eat more fatty, sweet foods. Keep fit even during the cold weather of winter by jumping rope indoors!
Keep in mind that the greater the variety of vegetables eaten, the greater the overall health benefits gained! Each veggie gives you essential vitamins and minerals. Not sure where to get some good, organic veggies? Look at your local farmers market! There are also some great food delivery programs in various locations. Here in the Bay Area, we have a modified Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program called the People’s Grocery in Oakland. They provides inexpensive “grub boxes” full of seasonal fruits and veggies for Oakland residents! In San Francisco, there’s Farm Fresh to You. They have a variety of different fruit and vegetable packages to chose from for any sized family!
Not sure how much to buy? Just get the amount that you can properly store. Winter squash can be stored for up to 3 months in a cool, dry place. Store uncut, raw spaghetti squash at room temperature and use within 3 weeks. For variety, use turnips instead of carrots in soups and stews. Use both the leaf and the root of beets in different dishes. Here are some beet recipes to get you started! For an easy side dish, heat left over cooked squash and toss with a small amount of butter and pepper.
RECIPE: SPAGHETTI SQUASH CASSEROLE
1 Large (about 3 lbs.) Spaghetti Squash
2 Tsp. olive or vegetable oil
1/2 Medium onion, diced
1 Tsp. Italian Seasoning
1 Cup fat-free sour cream
3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. seasoned bread crumbs
Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Place cut side down in a dish with 1/2 cup of water, cover and microwave for 10 minutes. Allow squash to cool. Using a fork, scrape squash into spaghetti-like strands. (Refrigerate half of the strands in a covered container for later use.) In a non-stick skillet, heat oil and saute onions until soft. Add the remaining squash and the Italian seasoning; turn off heat. Stir in sour cream and pour mixture into a 1-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Bake uncovered at 350°F for 15 minutes, or until heated. Makes 6 servings. Each serving provides: 13 grams carbohydrate, 3.5 grams fat, 130 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.
Let’s Go Chipper and Enjoy your Winter Veggies!