By: Ashley Statter ’16, University Health Center Nutrition Peer Educator
As a nutrition coach, one of the most common excuses I hear from students for not eating enough fruits and vegetables is that they are expensive. As a college student, I completely understand how frustrating it can be to balance your budget while buying fresh and nutritious foods. But it is possible! And one of the best ways to do this is to buy seasonal produce.
Believe it or not, there is actually quite a lot of produce that is in season in the winter. While it is always important to eat lots of fruits and veggies, it is especially important during the winter months to boost your immune system during cold and flu season.
Next time you go to the grocery store try some of these fruits and veggies that thrive in the winter months:
- Antioxidant packed pomegranates and cranberries, which reduce inflammation
- Vitamin C rich citrus fruits, such oranges, clementine, lemons, and grapefruits, to support immune function.
- Vitamin A rich root vegetables, such as carrots, turnips, beets, parsnips, sweet potatoes, onions, and butternut squash, to promote good eyesight, healthy skin, boost immunity, and reduce inflammation.
- Fiber-full and nutrient rich Brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage to keep your digestive system healthy and prevent constipation.
- Potassium rich pumpkin to turn carbohydrates into energy and build protein to fuel your muscles
You can incorporate these foods into your diet by:
- Packing citrus fruits as a snack to eat between classes. Their tough outer skin keeps them safe in your backpack!
- Enjoying carrots sticks with hummus or guacamole
- Making a colorful salad with kale, onion, and pomegranates
- Making butternut squash soup to warm you up in the cold
- Roasting sweet potatoes or Brussels sprouts in the oven for a tasty side dish
- Baking french fries from root vegetables for a fun and nutritious spin off of a popular comfort food
- Whipping up a pumpkin pie because there is always room in a healthy diet to treat yourself!
Not only is seasonal produce cheaper, it can often be better quality compared to produce that is not in season. In addition, buying in season can help add variety to your diet. It is easy to get in a rut and keep eating the same foods over and over again. By varying food choices with the seasons, you can add diversity to your diet and engage your palate in new and exciting flavors. Make sure to check out the Farmer’s Market on the UMD campus located outside of Cole Fieldhouse starting April 5th!
To learn more about seasonal eating through the remainder of winter and beyond, and how to create healthy eating habits, reserve your session with a University Health Center Nutrition Coach today by calling 301.314.5664 or emailing NutritionCoach@umd.edu.