The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recognizes March as National Nutrition Month – part of a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. The theme this year is “Eat Right, Your Way, Everyday.”
Nice sentiment, and great advice. But to many, the call-to-action for Nutrition Month is easier said than done. If you’re someone who has no idea what eating right entails, you need to first figure out what foods to eat before you learn how to incorporate those foods into your everyday diet.
If you consider yourself among those who are lost when it comes to trying to eat healthier, consider using Mother Nature as your guide. Each season produces a host of fruits and vegetables that will add both health and variety to your meals.
Here are some in season foods to give your diet a healthy boost this winter:
Acorn squash – Look for one with thick, hard skin and firm flesh that’s free of cracks with just a bit of orange color (sign of ripeness).
To prepare: Halve it, scoop out the seeds and strings, and bake on an oiled sheet (cut-sides down) at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Then flip them over, add a pat of butter and 1 tsp of brown sugar to the cavities, and bake for 10 minutes.
Kale – Choose kale that has dark green, frilly leaves – no yellow or wilted leaves, which signal that it’s past its prime.
To prepare: Saute the leaves, or add them to a salad or soup.
Collard greens – Choose a bunch that’s bright green and plump, not yellow or soft.
To prepare: After washing and removing the center rib, collard greens may be boiled, blanched, sauteed, or roasted.
Turnips – Choose one that’s small, firm, heavy feeling, and not wrinkled.
To prepare: Eat them boiled, or mash them after boiling with some butter, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
Oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and clementines – Oranges and grapefruits are ripe when they’re plump, firm, and heavy. Lemons should be firm and heavy with smooth skin. Clementines should be deep orange with a thin, glossy peel.
To prepare: Just peel and eat, or use for different juices and smoothies.
Do you make a point of incorporating seasonal fruits and veggies into your diet? Tell us below.
Sources: eatright.org and realsimple.com