Sustainable Winter Vegetables: Good for Your Body and Your Wallet

Some people tend to forget to maintain a healthy, fresh diet in the winter. The problem is: winter is when you need all those beneficial vitamins and nutrients the most. Since buying fresh, local and in-season produce is most efficient for your health, wallet and our environment, here's just a sampling of winter vegetables you can make sure to pick up next time you're at the market.

Beets

Antioxidant, anti-inflamatory, detoxification support

The best thing about beets is that you're sort of getting two veggies in one. The juicy, sweet beet root is the best part, but serving them over their green leaves (saut?ed---beet greens would be bitter and rubbery raw). Boil or season and roast the beet root. Serve 'em hot or cold. Use your leftover slices of red goodness in a sandwich for lunch the next day or throw 'em in a smoothie. Delish.

Broccoli Raabe

Power food, vitamins A and C and cancer-fighting potential

It's like a cross between broccoli and spinach and you can bet Tony Soprano's family served it for dinner every night with their ziti or manicotti—it's sort of an old-neighborhood Italian thing. Steam it or saut? it with some fresh garlic and olive oil. Badabing!

Brussels Sprouts

Protein, vitamin A, fiber, calcium, potassium, potential cancer-fighting

As a kid these dreaded two words may have brought a look of disgust to your face. But the slightly bitter yet succulent taste lends itself well to steaming, saut?ing or even in pasta. It's great in soup

(For meat-likers, Brussels sprout and kielbasa soup is one of the yummiest soups to slurp on a cold day.)

Plus, these little guys will fill you up fast?but you'll leave the pounds off.

Cabbage

Top of the list as far as cancer-fighting veggies go, but with a slew of other health benefits

It's cheap, it's good for you and it lasts forever. Really, this stuff hates to go bad. Red or green, eat it raw or cooked, in slaw, salads, stir fries, soups—heck, throw it in a quesadilla if you so desire.

Kale

Anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, detox, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, tons of fiber

The cooler weather keeps it sweet—and it's one of the prettiest veggies, maybe behind rainbow chard (if you're into that flashy sort of thing). Saut?, soup or salad only begins to touch upon all the ways to use this versatile beauty. You can bake it in bread, make a casserole, put it in pasta, risotto or your breakfast smoothie—or shove it in the juicer.

And for carnivores, it goes great with bacon.

Peas

Lotsa protein; Phytonutrients aid in antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and possible cancer prevention

They'll give you the satisfaction of something sweet and starchy without going too unhealthy. As far as eating them?they're peas. You know what to do. 

Yams

Potassium, fiber, vitamins B and C and aid in estrogen and progesterone production (good for PMS)

Eating yams or sweet potatoes is also great for your skin. They can be boiled to retain maximum nutrients, roasted, cooked with meat or baked.

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Christina Scannapiego is the Outdoors editor for Active.com.

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