A Fresh Start to the New Year

If your New Year’s resolution involves eating more fresh fruits and vegetables in season, your first thought may be, “But there’s hardly anything exciting in the produce aisle during winter! Why can’t New Year’s fall in summer?!” Don’t despair. There are more options than you think, including

Avocados From Mexico

, which grow year-round. Let’s take a trip through the fruit and veggie aisle!

Even though it looks dreary outside, Mother Nature is still working her magic and growing lovely fruits and veggies. Fresh fruit include citruses like lemons and limes (essential in many avocado recipes, like your favorite guacamole!), as well as tangerines, oranges, grapefruit, and clementines. Cranberries, persimmons, and pomegranates are also among the winter fruit group, especially attractive because of their festive colors. And then, of course, are Avocados From Mexico, which grow year-round thanks to the rich volcanic soil of the state of Michoacán.

As for vegetables, winter is the season for root veggies. There are potatoes (regular and sweet, among other varieties), turnips, rutabagas, and parsnips. All of these are great roasted, and give body to the comfort foods of winter soups and stews. Artichokes, beets, cauliflower, leeks, snow peas, broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts are also in season now. And don’t worry: If you’re desperate for leafy greens, kale and watercress are both fresh and just waiting to be turned into a gorgeous winter salad.

Where do you find these winter fruits and veggies? Your local supermarket’s fresh produce section probably carries most of them, but if you’re looking for something that’s harder to find, see if your area hosts any all-season farmers’ markets. You’ll be getting wonderful food and helping out local farmers, as well. Another option is to order online from a grocery delivery service, a practical option for busy people.

Try to work winter produce into your daily meal plan. How? One way is by adding avocado slices, pomegranate arils, or mandarin orange segments (or all three!) to your salads. Try baking apples and pears with a little honey for a sweet and nutritious dessert. Play with colors and textures by prepping a tray of root veggies to roast: Add cubed sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots, and red onion, toss with olive oil, and sprinkle with your favorite dried herbs. And fruits and veggies aren’t just for lunch and dinner! Add dried cranberries to your oatmeal or leeks to your scrambled eggs in the morning. Winter soups are always a great way to add more vegetables to your life, and since avocados are always in season, don’t forget to add some to rich, filling dishes like this tortilla soup. If guacamole feels too summery, consider grilling avocados instead.

Fresh flavor is one of the advantages of eating seasonal produce, but don’t forget the nutritional benefits of eating fruits and vegetables. They provide the fiber you need to help your digestive system (fiber also helps you feel full longer, so bonus points!). Fruits and veggies provide essential vitamins and minerals and help reduce the risk of certain diseases and conditions. The recommended daily intake varies depending on gender, age, and level of activity, but as a minimum, the MyPlate program suggests filling half your plate with veggies and fruit at every meal.

Adding seasonal, winter produce to your meal plan can be a fun and delicious way to keep your body nourished and active in winter months!

By Barbara Ruhs, MD, RDN January 24, 2017

An avid avocado-eater and guacamole-lover, Barb is the Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist for Avocados From Mexico and former sports nutritionist for Harvard University. Her philosophy on food is simple: Enjoy what you eat, prepare food with love, and add avocados to everything! 

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