As the weather gets colder, our taste buds crave warmer, hardier meals that soothe our soul and make our bellies full. Much of the fresh and local produce we have access to in the warmer months is not available to those who live in the North during the long winter months. Fresh picked greens and wild berries are often replaced with root vegetables, frozen fruits and oven-baked meals.
Warm up to some of these commonly overlooked root vegetables and you’ll get the same nutritional benefits our bodies reap in the summer months:
Rutabagas: Rich in vitamin C (1 cup = 50% of the recommended daily amount) and very low in sodium
Turnips: A starchy vegetable by nature and often used as a potato substitute but only has one-third of the calories and is high in disease-fighting antioxidants, rating it high on the list of low-calorie root vegetables next to the parsnip
Beets: Their betalains give them their deep rich color and anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Celeriac: A true heart-healthy root vegetable known for its rich potassium content (40% more K+ than an orange) and blood-pressure-lowering benefits
1 tablespoon of extra virgin first cold-pressed olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
Dash of sea salt (about ¼ teaspoon — may use salt substitute or omit if monitoring sodium intakes)
Dash of thyme and rosemary (dried, optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop vegetables into small chunks in a bowl. Toss veggies (except garlic) with olive oil and seasonings. Place in a roasting pan and bake for 45 to 65 minutes or until at preferred texture. Mix in garlic after 30 minutes. Makes four servings.
*Tip* Puree leftovers and add to a broth-based soup for a creamier texture without the added fat from cream or milk!
About the Author Terrah Setteducato is a practicing registered dietitian with the American Dietetic Association. She received her bachelor of science in nutrition and food science from Hunter College in New York City in 2004. Terrah currently works with Aetna’s Dedicated Patient Health Advocate Team in Albany, N.Y., and maintains her private practice “Lifestyle Changes Nutritional Counseling Center.” Lifestyle Changes offers 1:1 individualized nutrition care plans and condition specific meal plans, cooking classes and grocery store visits. If you want to learn more about lifestyle changes, contact Terrah at email@example.com.