Winter Eating… Spring Ahead!

Written by foodthusiast on Mar 9, 2010 in Blog Diet Fruits and vegetables Nutrition Recipes -

Snow is receding in many parts of the US, but we are still looking for comfort foods to compensate for the chill in the air. It is time to switch up our diets a bit if we’ve become sluggish from our winter diet trends. Admit it, you’ve felt your body slow down, you’re eating more bread and cheese than usual…but comfort is fleeting.

Now Spring is slightly in the air and you want to fight your feelings of grogginess and listlessness. With the advent of the new season we need to remind ourselves that it is time for our diets to change. So let’s mix it up and chase away those winter blues with the melting snow!

1. Be colorful
Your mom knew what she was talking about when she wanted you to have a green vegetable with your potatoes, corn, rice or meat. The more color that is in your diet, the better. What have you been eating when she isn’t looking? Mostly meat, cheese…on bread or a roll? A pretty blah diet that she’d encourage you to change. Okay, maybe it was her fault but never mind. It is your turn to head to the grocery store and look for bright, appealing colors that catch your eye and tempt your pallet. Beets, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and various fruits can help. What a great way to make sure you’re getting the Vitamin A and Vitamin C that it needed during this season.

2. Figure out what’s in season
While there are some fruits and vegetables to steer away from in the winter due to their tastelessness you have to figure on something being in season, all the time. Try some recipes that include common winter vegetables. Find vegetables that don’t lose much of their flavor no matter where they were shipped from. Leeks and beets are great early veggies, though, so see what you can do with some recipes involving those ingredients.

3. Add a little sugar
Believe it or not, a bit of sugar can be worth the calories to jump start your energy levels. Kick it into high gear and get some things done, Spring cleaning is on the way! Avoid heavy refined sugars found in candy and chocolate (empty, empty, empty calories) and instead see what you can find in the dried fruit area.  This is again a great way to integrate some color into your diet. Look for dried papaya, dried pineapple and other sugary goodies.

4. Buy locally
Support your local farmers and buy your food locally. Chances are, there’s a farmer’s market somewhere near you and you can take a look at exactly what is in season and what has recently come up. This is a great way to make sure that any food that you get tastes great and has the added bonus of helping out small farmers as well. After a very small amount of time, you’ll be able to taste the difference between food that is grown locally and food that has been preserved and treated to be sent over long distances.

Winter shouldn’t be an invitation to retreat to bad food choices and forget our daily need for vegetables.  Consider your body’s needs before selecting foods out of habit for the season.

Here’s some color for your menu. A nice slow cooker recipe so you can multi-task with your menu or garden planning for the Spring.

Zucchini Basil Casserole

1 red onion, sliced
1 green pepper, cut in thin strips
4 medium zucchini, sliced and unpeeled
1 16 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon basil
1 tablespoon margarine
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Combine all the ingredients, excluding the cheese and margarine, in a slow cooker. Cook on a low setting for 3 hours. Add the margarine and sprinkle the cheese on top. Cook for another 1 1/2 hours on the low setting.

Serves 6.

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