I’ve been on a steady healthy eating kick for quite some time. Recently, I began paying more attention to eating foods for their specific benefits. This also includes understanding what foods are “in season.”
At first glance, most grocery stores would have you believe that all produce is in season all the time – but this isn’t true. Each fruit and vegetable has a season in which you can get the best and most nutritious value from it.
Now that it’s officially winter, my meal plans will shift and accommodate the nutritious foods to help my family and I eat well through the season.
How to Eat Healthy
Before dropping the massive list of yumminess, I’d like to give you some tips of how to actually eat healthy. Incorporating these few ideas (and sticking with them) will have you on the way to eating nutritiously without having to think twice about it.
- Know what foods are in season. I gotcha covered on this one for winter (deets below).
- Understand nutritional value. Quick Google searches are always the route I take to get this info.
- Meal plan with purpose. You know the saying, “Lack of planning is like planning to fail.” This is especially true with meal planning.
If you’re totally new to eating healthier, it can definitely seem overwhelming at first. I totally get it. It took me jumping on and off the bandwagon several times before I stayed on and started driving my own (LOL)! Try these tips to help ease into the process:
- Start slow. And by slow I literally mean one meal at a time. Breakfast seems to be the easiest to start with.
- Budget for the change. I say this because (1) most people think eating healthier is too expensive, and (2) folks are typically eating out A LOT and that money can be used for healthier grocery shopping. Simply put, set a budget and stick with it.
- Start meal planning. Starting the meal plan is easy… keeping up with it is the challenge – but you got this! One meal at a time, one day at a time.
- Grocery shop according to your meal plan. I tell people to give themselves wiggle room like write in a takeout meal and/or add an additional $20 for “snack.” Either way, stick with your plan.
- Stay consistent. The biggest hurdle is staying consistent. However, this is totally doable once you’re used to meal planning and shopping according to your plan.
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Nutritious Foods to Help You Eat Healthy
Now for the good stuff! This list of foods are easy to incorporate in any meal, any time. They are also reasonably priced and can be found at most grocery stores, farmer’s markets, etc. They are also conveniently listed by category!
With the major benefit of helping reduce some chronic illnesses, vegetables provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body. Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories, and offer many nutrients like potassium, fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
During the winter months, add these to your grocery list:
- brussels sprouts
- egg plant
- winter squash
- sweet potatoes
Working much like vegetables, fruit helps give our body natural nutrients and vitamins that aid in growth and repair of all body tissues, helps heal cuts and wounds, and keeps teeth and gums healthy.
You can’t go wrong with adding these fibrous, vitamin packed fruits to your meal plan:
Being a clean-meat eater (according to Leviticus 11), I only recommend eating meat and fish that are truly healthy for you to eat. Although meat and fish such as pork and shellfish are listed as having nutrients, these kind are not healthy for consumption.
When incorporating meat and fish into your healthy eating habits we then get into nutrients such as protein, B vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Gotta have some kind of meat or fish on your plate? These make some amazing winter meals:
Nuts and seeds are known to have similar nutrients to meat and fish, but what makes these little snackers unique are their benefits to helping with weight regulation, reducing risk of heart disease, and reducing risk for diabetes.
Consider adding these nuts and seeds in snacks, salads, and side dishes:
Although oils are not considered a food group, adding oil when you cook certain foods can add essential fatty acids. All oils are not created equal so consider the following with cooking and/or making your own dressings:
- (extra virgin) olive
Spices have a long history of helping with various ailments. From lowering blood sugar and fighting inflammation to relieving nausea and boosting heart health, spices are a great way to add a boost of health and nutrition to your meals.
Keep these handy:
- bay leaf
With a rise in food allergies, dairy is often among the top that some people (especially children) have to stay away from. I will always recommend that people try to get to the root of their allergy instead of scratching the surface.
If dairy is part of your “diet”, these are good to incorporate for calcium, potassium, and vitamin D:
- (real) butter
- cottage cheese
- sour cream
- (Greek) yogurt
Healthy Substitutes to Consider
There are other healthy substitutes that you can make with every day foods to help with an overall nutritious eating habit.
- honey (raw)
- maple syrup
- sugar (raw)
- rice (brown)
- orange peel
Using the season to help with eating healthy meals has proven to increase the health and wellness of my family and I – and in a natural way. We rarely have sickness hit our home to begin with; however, if/when it does strike, it doesn’t last as long because of healthier immune systems.
When we feel our bodies lacking something – be it energy, tiredness, aches, and/or pains – I choose nutritious foods that naturally cater to that system! It’s a win-win!
Free Nutritious Winter Foods List Printable!!!
To help make your journey to eating healthy this winter much easier, I’ve created a simple (but powerful) printable that you can hang on your refrigerator and refer to as you meal plan this season! Snag it below!