Today, we will discuss some of the benefits and uses of a few popular, nutrient-rich vegetables of this fast-approaching winter season that offer a diverse range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Sweet potatoes are a staple in Texas during the winter, offering a delectable sweetness along with a host of health benefits. Packed with beta-carotene, vitamins A and C, fiber, and antioxidants, sweet potatoes support immune health and provide sustained energy. Adequate Vitamin A intake helps
maintain of the skin, respiratory system, and mucous membranes. It’s also essential for maintaining eye health by contributing to the prevention of age-related macular degeneration and other vision-related issues. Roast sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt, and your favorite seasonings as a hearty side dish or
whip them into a creamy, spiced soup for a comforting winter meal. You may also mash and mix them with ingredients like brown sugar, cinnamon, and a touch of vanilla to make a casserole!
Deeply hued and earthy, beets are an excellent winter root vegetable. They are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, contributing to improved digestion and increased energy levels. Known for their potential to support heart health, the nitrates in beets can be converted into nitric oxide, a compound that helps relax blood vessels, improve blood flow, and lower blood pressure. Roast or grill beets for a simple side dish or grate them into a vibrant salad for a refreshing crunch. Beet soup, known as borscht, is a classic winter dish that warms both the body and soul. You start by sautéing onions, carrots, and celery until softened, then adding peeled and diced beets, some vegetable or chicken broth, and herbs such as dill. Finish by simmering them until they are tender.
Kale is a hardy green that thrives in cooler temperatures. It's a nutritional powerhouse, offering an abundance of vitamins A, K, and C, along with minerals like calcium and iron. Vitamin K, for instance, is a crucial nutrient for bone health, helping the body with proper blood clotting and in regulating calcium in the bones. Some compounds found in kale, such as sulforaphane, have been studied for their potential anti-cancer properties, which may play a role in its prevention. You can use kale in salads, soups, or sautéed as a side dish. For a winter kale salad, massage its leaves with a bit of olive oil to soften them, then toss them with seasonal ingredients like roasted sweet potatoes, pomegranate seeds, walnuts, and feta cheese. Finally, drizzle with a balsamic vinaigrette for a refreshing and nutrient-packed salad.
You may see one or more of these amazing and delicious vegetables this month at HCCM’s pantry or at any of our Fresh Food for All distribution sites, so make sure to stop by and get yourself some!