TWELVE Seasonal Fruits & Veggies

The countdown is on! There are TWELVE days until Christmas. The special Holy day, filled with food, company, and more food is well on its way! Where this is an exciting time of year for all, it can lead to our health dropping down on the priority list. An unfortunate statistic exists that the majority of people gain approximately 5 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Where weight gain is most definitely not always a bad thing, in this case it is likely due to over eating, under exercising and stress. Despite this, I am here to tell you that it does NOT have to be like that! Over the next 12 days, I will be posting some healthy tips, tricks, and things to consider through the holiday season.

Without further a do, I give you: Seasonal Fruits & Veggies! 

The idea behind seasonal is that this local produce will offer higher nutritional value given that it is fresher and has not spent time transporting to you. Less time off the vine means more retained vitamins and minerals. In addition, produce in season is usually easier on the wallet…a perk over the spending holiday season! Take a look below and try to incorporate each of them at least once over the next 12 days:

The naturally sweet beetroot are commonly used as the source of refined sugar and natural food colorings. However, when consumed in their whole state, several benefits come along with it. And, don’t forget the greens, which can be cooked much like collard greens (see number 5).

Nutrition:

1/2 cup ⋅ 30 calories ⋅ 6g carbohydrates ⋅ 1g protein ⋅ 0g fat

Excellent source of vitamin C, folate, potassium, iron, fiber and betalain (potent red pigment).

My favorite ways to prepare:

  • Tossed in a salad
  • Roasted
  • Spiralized
    Parsnips are similar to a carrot, but with a lighter color hue. They are a sweet, starchy root vegetable with a variety of uses in the culinary world.

Nutrition:

1/2 cup ⋅ 50 calories ⋅ 12g carbohydrates ⋅ 1g protein ⋅ 0g fat

Excellent source of vitamin C, folate, manganese and fiber.

My favorite ways to prepare:

  • Soup
  • Roasted (or incorporate in a root veggie medley!)

Garlic, a part of the allium vegetable family, has a strong scent and flavor that is desired in many culinary dishes. Its versatility and abundance of health benefits make this piece of produce a must use.

Nutrition:

3 cloves ⋅ 13 calories ⋅ 3g carbohydrates ⋅ 0.5g protein ⋅ 0g fat

Excellent source of manganese, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. Garlic also contains powerful flavonols and organosulfur compounds, which are known to be effective fighters of bacterial, fungal and viral infections, as well as protect against some cancers.

My favorite ways to prepare:

I ♥ Garlic, so I put it in EVERYTHING. When I don’t have fresh garlic on hand, I go for minced garlic in the jar. When I don’t have that, granulated or powder works just fine! Here are a few of the many things I add it to:

  • Sautéed and roasted vegetables
  • Omelettes
  • Pan-cooked or Baked Chicken and Fish
  • Hummus

Just like garlic, onions are a part of the allium family. They contain a sulfuric compound (syn-propanethial-S-oxide) that when cut, is activated and becomes airborn. However, if you can get past this uncomfortable but harmless process, onions will provide flavor like no other. 

Nutrition:

1/2 cup ⋅ 32 calories ⋅ 7g carbohydrates ⋅ 1g protein ⋅ 0g fat

Excellent source of biotin, vitamin C, and those same powerful flavonols and organosulfur compounds and explained in garlic.

My favorite ways to prepare:

  • Sautéed all the way! (Try using coconut or avocado oil instead of butter)

Collard greens are in the cruciferous vegetable family. They are a dense, dark leafy green with many health benefits. 

Nutrition:

1 cup ⋅ 11 calories ⋅ 2g carbohydrates ⋅ 1g protein ⋅ 0g fat

Excellent source of vitamin K (850%DV), manganese, vitamin C and fiber. Collard greens also contain phytonutrients that protect against serval cancers.

My favorite ways to prepare:

Mushrooms are technically a fungus, which is neither a fruit or vegetable. They are a unique, and seemingly strange piece of produce yes often enhance the plates and health of many.

Nutrition:

1/2 cup ⋅ 8 calories ⋅ 1g carbohydrates ⋅ 1g protein ⋅ 0g fat

Mushrooms are among one of the few whole food sources of vitamin D, a nutrient that many are lacking. They are also an excellent source of copper, selenium and B vitamins.

My favorite ways to prepare:

Brussels sprouts, or “mini cabbages” are a part of the cruciferous family and were first harvested in Brussels, Germany. They are grown on large stalks and are a favorite in many households. 

Nutrition:

1/2 cup ⋅ 50 calories ⋅ 12g carbohydrates ⋅ 1g protein ⋅ 0g fat

Excellent source of vitamin K (230%DV), vitamin C (130%DV), and folate. As all cruciferous vegetables, Brussels sprouts also contain phytonutrients that protect against serval cancers.

My favorite ways to prepare:

The ever so popular sweet tasting root vegetable, sweet potato, often makes its appearance around the holidays. It differs itself from its white potato counterpart in that it contains significantly more vitamin A, as seen by its orange flesh. 

Nutrition:

1/2 cup ⋅ 60 calories ⋅ 14g carbohydrates ⋅ 1g protein ⋅ 0g fat

Excellent source of vitamin A (215%), vitamin C, manganese and fiber (with peel!).

My favorite ways to prepare:

  • Mashed (made with greek yogurt)
  • Roasted 425˚F in the oven until golden brown (cubed, fries, whole wrapped in aluminum, savory or sweet with cinnamon)

Butternut squash, a part of the winter squash family, is often thought of as a lighter version of a sweet potato. It has a sweet, nutty taste that can make for a fantastic side dish. 

Nutrition:

1/2 cup ⋅ 30 calories ⋅ 8g carbohydrates ⋅ 1g protein ⋅ 0g fat

Excellent source of vitamin A (200%DV), vitamin C and fiber.

My favorite ways to prepare:

  • Roasted 425˚F in the oven until golden brown (cubed is usually best)
  • Soup

Spaghetti squash, a part of the winter squash family, is often used as a low calorie, low carbohydrate substitute to pasta. Its stringy flesh makes for an easy swap! 

Nutrition:

1/2 cup ⋅ 20 calories ⋅ 4g carbohydrates ⋅ 0.5g protein ⋅ 0g fat

Good source of vitamin C, B vitamins and fiber. Where it does not have many outstanding nutrient standouts, it is a great low calorie, low carbohydrate option to allow for other food items in the diet.

My favorite ways to prepare:

Pears are a sweet tree fruit. If just ripe enough, it will be juicy to perfection. As one of the only late fall/early winter seasonal fruits, it’s one to incorporate. 

Nutrition:

1 medium pear ⋅ 100 calories ⋅ 25g carbohydrates ⋅ 1g protein ⋅ 0g fat

Excellent source of fiber (including pectin, which slows digestion and leads to being fuller longer), copper and vitamin C. Pears also contain several phytonutrients to combat inflammation.

My favorite ways to prepare:

Cranberries are antioxidant powerhouses, which are known to provide health benefits to the urinary tract. They’re grown on evergreen shrubs, which make them available and widely used in food and decor during the holiday season.

Nutrition:

1/2 cup ⋅ 23 calories ⋅ 6g carbohydrates ⋅ 0g protein ⋅ 0g fat

Excellent source of antioxidants, manganese, vitamin C and fiber.

My favorite ways to prepare: