December is arriving, and with it a heap of delicious seasonal foods. Buying seasonally helps you eat the highest quality produce packed with the highest quantity of nutrients, and also helps you support the sustainability of the local farming ecosystem. As an added bonus, it’s also usually much cheaper!
These are the foods you need to pick up at your local farmers market this month. Curious what to cook? Here’s how you can incorporate these fruits and vegetables into your diet and holiday dishes this December.
Brussels sprouts are incredibly high in vitamin K, which helps prevent blood clots and is good for bone health. An impressive antioxidant concentration also makes these sprouts an amazing cancer-fighting vegetable. Try roasting Brussels sprouts in the oven with olive oil, pecans, cranberries, and herbs for the perfect holiday dinner side dish.
This cruciferous veggie is known for its high concentration of anti-inflammatory compounds, and immune boosting vitamin C. A high fiber content also helps regulate proper digestion and lower blood cholesterol. Try roasting an entire head of cauliflower in a cast iron skillet, and serve with tahini and harissa for a beautiful addition to your meal.
Kale salads may seem trendy and all year long, but kale grows abundantly during the winter. Kale is a surprisingly wonderful source of calcium, and as an alkaline food, it helps promote good blood circulation and reduces inflammation. Eating cooked kale can be easier to digest, so try sautéed kale with cubes of butternut squash, organic feta, olives, and capers for a different spin on the classic kale salad.
Clementines are packed with vitamin C, which is amazing for winter immune health and skin health. They are also great sources of folate, which is linked to a decreased risk of depression and heart disease. Eat these fruits plain as a snack perfect for both kids and adults, or add them to a salad for unexpected yet delicious pop of flavor.
Beets are a unique source of betaine, which is a nutrient that helps protect cells from environmental stress and supports proper liver function. Beets are also a great source of fiber and cancer fighting phytonutrients. For a perfect dinner party appetizer, try topping toasted whole wheat baguette slices with fresh goat cheese, diced roasted beets, and arugula.
Winter squash come in many shapes and sizes. Try loading up your basket with acorn, butternut, and delicata squash for some delicious variety. These winter squashes are an extremely good source of vitamin A, potassium, and dietary fiber. Try roasting them in the oven with rosemary and olive oil, and serve them atop rice and risotto dishes, or drizzled with tahini.
Instead of reaching into a big bag of potato chips, try making your own baked parsnip chips instead. This winter root vegetable is loaded with, potassium, vitamin C, and folate. Slice parsnips thinly, and bake them until they’re crispy. You can do this with other root vegetables too, such as sweet potatoes, beets, and carrots, and serve your chips with a side of mashed avocado for the perfect heart-healthy dipping sauce.
Apples are seasonal all throughout the fall and winter. They’re packed with fiber and are rich in polyphenolic compounds, which are known for their antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Snack on apples with nut butter, or make this perfect apple crumble recipe for a healthy, cozy, winter dessert.
Author: Maggie Harriman