With wintertime and dropping temperatures, our eating of fiber-rich foods doesn’t need to fall along with the thermostat. The winter harvest is perfectly capable of meeting our fiber needs of 25 to 38 grams of fiber per day while offering flavor, variety, and balance to meals and snacks throughout the cold-weather months. Include these seasonal foods as part of your regular eating plan over the winter months.
- Put a spring in your step with citrus fruits this winter – grapefruit, oranges, clementines, tangerines and Mandarin oranges. These fruits are easy to transport, deliciously sweet, and jam-packed with vitamin C, vitamin A, and more. Soaking in soluble fiber, citrus fruits are a daily no-brainer in the winter.
- Brussels sprouts are a fall favorite…and a winter one too! Simply roast them with olive oil and sea salt for an easy three and a half grams of fiber per cup. These baby cabbages are delicious and bursting with nutrition. Eat them solo, or as part of a mixed winter dish. Delish!
- Pomegranates aren’t as difficult to de-seed as you might think. And, they couldn’t be more worthwhile for both their flavor and nutrition concentration. In just one-half cup of brightly-hued lusciousness, pomegranate seeds offer nearly four grams of fiber – both the soluble and insoluble types. Their deep red color provides clear evidence of the health-promoting plant chemicals they contain, and the seeds can be sprinkled on salads, mixed in side dishes, or eaten on their own.
- With the nutritional profile of rock stars, broccoli and cauliflower are unjustifiably humble. Because of their combined low-calorie and high nutrition, these seasonal winter veggies have achieved the prestigious label of, nutrient-dense. Ranging from four to five grams in a single serving, do not underestimate the fiber power of broccoli and cauliflower.
- If you haven’t jumped on the kale bandwagon yet, this winter is your time. In addition to three grams of fiber and just over 30 calories in a healthy one-cup serving, kale touts omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium among its nutrition contents. For a seriously good snack, toss fresh kale with a bit of olive oil and salt, and bake it in the oven until it turns to crispy kale chips. Just be sure to brush your teeth before heading out!
- Not just a famously fall fruit, pears rock it through the winter months too. Six grams of fiber in one medium-size pear is what we’re talking about, putting you well on your way to 25 – 38 grams per day. Delicious when eaten solo, sliced into salads, or diced on top of side dishes.
- What do potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, rutabagas, beets and parsnips have in common? These root vegetables are in their seasonal glory in the winter, and all boast at least four grams of fiber per serving. Their many other benefits include their high levels of vitamins C and A, and their low glycemic index (because of all that fiber!).
- Eat Fiber d’Lish with 12g fiber. When you don’t have fresh winter produce on hand, this is an easy and delicious way to get a big fiber boost.
There’s no reason not to fill up on seasonal produce first, this winter, but don’t let frozen fruits and vegetables hold you back either. These seasonal foods are often frozen at their peak ripeness putting their nutrition content in peak form. With all that winter has to offer, filling up on produce this winter will make it feel like summer.
Anne Marie Kuchera, MS, MA, RD, LPC is a registered dietitian, and both a licensed nutritionist and licensed professional counselor. She manages community-based obesity prevention and preventive health and wellness initiatives through Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.