Ever wonder what to add to your meals to make them more nutritious and colorful in the winter months?
If you can’t find affordable fresh fruits or vegetables, look for canned, frozen, or dried fruits and vegetables. These are all great choices and provide health benefits just like fresh fruits and vegetables.
Don’t over think it! Simply use MyPlate when planning your meals to include at least 3 food groups:
1) fruit or vegetable,
2) protein or dairy, and
3) a whole grain.
Example: Whole wheat toast with scrambled eggs and an orange.
Make it easy on yourself to make simple and healthy meals for your family during winter by keeping these 5 grocery items on hand:
- Frozen Berries– Fresh berries can be more expensive and have little flavor in the winter, so reach for those frozen berries to brighten up your meals. Frozen berries, and other frozen fruits, are frozen at their peak ripeness, meaning they have tons of flavor and nutrition.
- Frozen berries are perfect to add to smoothies, oatmeal, pancakes, salads, banana bread, or as a quick snack.
- Frozen Vegetables– Kale, sweet potatoes, and carrots are all great seasonal winter vegetables to choose from, but frozen vegetables are a great option too! Add color and variety to your meals with some frozen vegetables. They are packed full of flavor, provide lots of nutrients, and are affordable.
- Try adding frozen vegetables to a casserole, pot pie, pasta bake, stir fry, egg scramble, roasted chicken, tacos, quesadilla, burrito, or just as a simple side dish.
- Canned Beans– Canned beans are a quick, easy, and affordable way to add protein to any meal. Beans are also a great source of fiber, iron, and energy (carbohydrates). Check the nutrition facts labels: Choose low-sodium or no salt added canned beans and always drain AND rinse beans to remove excess sodium.
- Canned beans are a perfect addition to salads, soups, tacos, and even mashed into sweet desserts.
- Oats– Oats are a whole grain and are a great source of fiber, iron, and several b-vitamins. Look for different types of oats: quick oats, rolled oats, steel cut oats, oat groats.
- Not only are oats an easy way to incorporate more whole grains into your meals, they can also be used in so many different ways. Oats can be used instead of bread crumbs, ground into a flour for baked goods, in quick breads, in cookies, in homemade granola, as a filling warm breakfast cereal, or used like rice for savory dishes.
- Leafy Greens– Adding greens like, kale, spinach, rainbow chard, and even carrot tops to your meals will add a boost of nutrients and color. Fresh, frozen, or canned are all healthy choices!
- Prepare leafy greens as a side salad, as the main dish, or stir into soups, stir fry, eggs, top on rice bowls, tacos, or sandwiches. The combinations are limitless!
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