Thursday, December 20, 2012

Seasonal Eating: Winter

Despite the lack of snow, today marks the first day of Winter in Ohio.

With the change in season comes a change in seasonal eating habits.

To eat seasonally, means to consume foods that are grown in your region for the current time of year.  It does not mean consuming strawberries in the dead of Winter flown in from another hemisphere.  Eating seasonally enables you to consume food when it's at it's peak in flavor & nutrient value.  Listen to your body, you're probably not craving a cold, crisp salad right now, but I bet a bowl of steaming, hearty soup can get you salivating.

Yes, you can get anything you want year round, but that's not the way we were designed to eat.  And doing so tends to throw us out of balance.  "The body naturally needs different foods during specific times of the year—foods that protect us from the effects of seasonal changes—say experts such as Elson M. Haas, MD, author of Staying Healthy with the Seasons (Celestial Arts, 2004)."

Winter Eating

Winter is the time to reserve energy & rest and there are Winter specific foods designed to help us achieve this.  You want to consume hardier, warming foods at this time of year - think root vegetables, beans & seaweed.  These types of foods take longer to digest and therefore better support our core temperature.

Here's what to look for until Spring blossoms...

Winter Foods
  • Apples
  • Beets
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli Rabe
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chestnuts
  • Clementine
  • Collard Greens
  • Dates
  • Garlic
  • Grapefruits
  • Kumquats 
  • Leeks
  • Meyer Lemons
  • Mushrooms
  • Onion
  • Oranges
  • Parsnips 
  • Pears
  • Potatoes
  • Radicchio
  • Rhubarb
  • Rutabagas
  • Snap Peas
  • Sprouts (homegrown)
  • Sunchokes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Turnips 
  • Winter Greens (Arugula, Collards, Kale, Lettuce, Spinach, Swiss Chard)
  • Winter Squash (Acorn, Butternut, Calabaza, Delicata, Hubbard, Pumpkin, Spaghetti)

    If this list is too long to remember, just hit your local farmers market - they won't have anything that's out of season for your area.


    Winter is the time to switch to longer cooking methods at lower temperatures.  Think soups, stews & chili simmering on the stove top or dust off that slow cooker.  Try roasting a variety of root vegetables, cut into bite-sized pieces and tossed with flavored vinegar & your favorite seasonings.

    Learn More

    Check out the NRDC Smarter Living website to see what's in season for your state!


    Download the free NRDC Eat Local App from iTunes to help you figure out which foods are in season  when you're out & about!

    So, while the dietician in your head is screaming, "Order the damn salad!" your body is saying, "Hey man, I just want some soup."  Listen to your body, not your head.

    Keep it Seasonal!
    The Hoff

    Seasonal Eating: Spring, Summer, Fall


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