By Vanessa Boily, Nutrition student
During the winter months, it can be challenging to get enough fruits and vegetables on your plate. Fresh produce prices increase and availability becomes limited in stores. It may seem harder or even impossible to eat healthy in the winter without spending extra money or time, but healthy eating is definitely still attainable! Here are some tips:
- Buy fruit and vegetables that are in season: Fruits and vegetables that are in season are more affordable and more accessible. To find out which fruits and vegetables are in season in Ontario, visit https://www.ontario.ca/foodland/page/availability-guide. Examples of good buys all year-round include apples, onions, carrots, cabbage, beets, mushrooms and potatoes. These are all found in the Good Food Box! With proper storage, carrots, onions and potatoes can last up to a month.
- Consider dried fruit: Dried fruit is as delicious and can be as nutritious as fresh fruit. It can be added to salads, cereal, granola or eaten as a snack. Try adding dried fruits to the greens (lettuce, romaine or kale) you receive in the Good Food Box to make your own sweet salad. Be sure to choose dried fruits with no added sugar and consume a smaller portion (1serving = ¼ cup) as they are more concentrated in sugar than fresh fruits.
- Eat more frozen vegetables and fruits: Frozen fruits and vegetables preserve their nutritional value. Think ahead and freeze your favourite fresh products from your garden and local markets when in season, or from the grocery store when on sale. You can freeze almost any fruit or vegetable from the Good Food Box that you won’t be using right away. Buy frozen fruits and vegetables when on sale- make sure to choose those with no seasoning or added sauce by looking at the ingredient list. Frozen fruits can be added to smoothies while frozen vegetables taste great in soups, stews and stir frys.
- Buy canned fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables in cans can be a more affordable option and are always available. Buy canned fruit stored in water instead of syrup and rinse vegetables before using to remove excess salt. Better yet, choose options with no added sugar and no added salt. Fruits in cans such as pears, peaches, mandarins and cherries are great mixed with some fresh fruits received in the Good Food Box and made into a fruit salad.