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Family Nutrition & Health

A Platter of Winter Wonders

The trees may be bare, the air cold and the sky gray for most of us, yet it doesn’t mean our tables can’t be filled with fresh, vibrant vegetables. Every season brings a new crop of nutrition to your family, and a new palate of flavors to explore.

If you think broccoli and cauliflower arrive as frozen florets; that kohlrabi is an Armenian ball game, and that cabbage is only good for slaw, it’s time to wake up and smell the winter garden! Here are just a few ideas on how to elevate winter’s affordable, nutritious fruits and veggies from wallflowers on the produce aisles to star status on your family’s table.

1. Roast them:
Stop steaming and boiling away all the flavor from beets, cabbage, carrots, turnips, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi. Instead, cut them into bite-size portions, toss with a touch of olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast them on a sheet pan in a 350-400° oven. Stir/toss frequently to avoid burning, but don’t be afraid of caramelized browning – it adds a sweet flavor.

2. Mix them:
Share the wealth of winter flavors and allow them to complement each other. Shred together sweet carrots and tart Granny Smith apples for a cool slaw; or heat up your meal with a sauté mix of kale, caramelized onions and fennel.

3. Experiment:
Never had kohlrabi or sunchokes? Look for one “offbeat” vegetable or fruit every week at the store. Most unique items are packaged with a recipe, or you can ask the produce manager for ideas on how to prepare them. Plus, recipes abound online and within the FitFamily site.

4. Get out of the rut:
Instead of serving mashed potatoes, serve mashed cauliflower or mashed butternut squash. Substitute stir-fried snow peas for everyday string beans.

5. Flip your fruits:
Trade fresh blueberries, which are expensive in the winter, for seasonal pomegranate seeds; switch apples for pears; reach for oranges, mandarins and grapefruits instead of bananas; make a rhubarb, cranberry or persimmon compote and use it instead of jam with toast.

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