8 Easy Ways to Winter-Proof Your Diet

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition
pizza with vegetables

When the temperatures drop, our eating habits change. The average adult’s produce consumption is lowest in winter, rises in spring and summer, and declines again in autumn, according to the 2015 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. This may not be too surprising, since fresh produce is abundant and tempting during the warmer months. But no matter what the weather is like outside, vegetables are a critical part of a healthy diet. We all need at least four servings (Two and a half to three cups total) of vegetables each day, every month of the year. The good news: Fall is the harvest season, so lots of fresh produce is available in stores. And frozen vegetables are easy to include in many popular cool-weather meals, too. Try these simple strategies when you’re looking for ways to winter-proof your diet and keep enjoying your four servings (or more!) of vegetables this season:

1. Pancakes Plus
Winter (hardshell) squashes such as butternut have a naturally sweet flavor, lots of fiber, and a load of powerhouse nutrients such as vitamin A. After cutting the squash in half and removing the seeds, bake it until its fork-tender, scoop out the flesh, and puree it thoroughly. Blend it with your pancake mix and you get a serving of veggies with your hearty breakfast.

2. Eggs Extra
Chop sweet peppers, onions, and mushrooms and saute them with a splash of olive oil and ground pepper. Toss in a handful of spinach at the end, when the other vegetables are soft and juicy. Whip two eggs, pour them into the hot pan with the saute, and your ordinary omelet comes with a healthy serving of vegetables.

3. Soup Booster
A bowl of vegetable soup has a half to a full serving of vegetables. Get in more by adding a serving of frozen mixed vegetables when you heat up any packaged soup.

4. Super Sauce
The tomatoes in bottled or homemade spaghetti sauce give you a serving of vegetables. Get in another by stirring grated carrots, zucchini and broccoli into the sauce during cooking.

5. Squash Pasta
Max out the vegetable content of your spaghetti dinner with the well-named spaghetti squash. Bake it in your oven until tender, then fork out the strands in a bowl. Substitute them for half or more of the pasta you’d normally eat.

6. Mash Up
Comfort foods like mashed potatoes help us feel warm and cozy on cool autumn days. Replace half of the starchy white potatoes in your recipe with baked and mashed turnips. If turnips are a little too zesty for your taste, use steamed and mashed cauliflower instead.

7. Pizza Topping
When your busy schedule calls for pizza night, skip the pepperoni and order your pie with broccoli, mushrooms, or roasted red peppers–or all three. Better yet, add them yourself to the Nutrisystem Italian herb flatbread pizza.

8. Smart Snacks
Whether you are watching your favorite team play on TV or taking a break at your desk, reach for a bag of baby carrots, cucumber slices, or celery sticks and a single-serving size of hummus. Dip and crunch and enjoy a serving or more of the vegetables for a smart snack that will keep you feeling satiated.