Simple Tips for Healthy Eating this Winter Season

By Amanda Benson, RDN

There’s something about this time of year that has me craving comfort food. I don’t know about you, but the colder temperatures and the snow-covered ground doesn’t exactly scream “fresh, crisp salad” (depending on where you live, of course!). It also doesn’t help that certain fresh fruits and vegetables aren’t always available this time of year.

But alas, it’s still possible to eat healthily and incorporate nutritious, wholesome ingredients into your diet, which is especially important to support a healthy immune system in the midst of cold and flu season. As a Registered Dietitian, here are my top two tips for doing so and some of my favorite winter recipes linked below.

1. Focus on what’s in season. Seasonal produce is more accessible and cost-effective. What that looks like in your area will vary by growing conditions and weather, but in general, here’s what you can count on in the winter months:

Brussels SproutsParsnips
Collard GreensPumpkin
HerbsSweet Potatoes & Yams
KaleSwiss Chard
LeeksWinter Squash

2. Don’t be afraid to use frozen or canned options. The nutrient content of canned and frozen fruits and vegetables is comparable to fresh, or in some cases, may even be higher. Including these options can increase the variety in your diet and add interest to your meals this time of year. Check out some tips for how to make healthy meals from what you have stocked in your freezer and pantry!

Recipe spotlight

Harvest Bowl with Beets

Serving Suggestion 3-4 bowls

Recipe by: Sarah Van Eerden, RD (Vitality Digital Marketing Specialist)

Bowl Ingredients

  • 1 large beet, unpeeled
  • 3-4 cups arugula and/or kale, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked farro
  • 1 cup cooked chicken
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 4 oz goat cheese, optional
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp stone ground or Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp real maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp (or less) cayenne pepper 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Wash the beet and wrap it in tin foil. Roast in the oven until a knife easily pierces the vegetable, 30 minutes for smaller beets, up to an hour for larger. Remove from oven, unwrap and let cool.

Cook the farro according to the package instructions.

Wash the greens and remove any stems. Roughly chop into bite-sized pieces.

Dice or shred the cooked chicken and chop the apple.

In a jar with a lid, like a mason jar, combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, syrup, mustard, and spices. Shake to combine.

Once the roasted beet is cool enough, slide the skin off the outside, then dice it into small pieces. Then, assemble the bowl. Layer farro, greens, chicken, beets and apples. Top with dressing, goat cheese and almonds.

Notes: This is a great “piggy-backed” meal to create with leftover cooked chicken and farro. Looking to make it vegetarian? Roast chickpeas along with the beet and leave out the chicken.

For more healthy winter recipe inspiration, check out these tried-and-true favorites:

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Chili (get the full recipe here)

Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup (get the full recipe here)

Coconut Curry Pumpkin Soup (get the full recipe here)

Warm Kale Salad with Goat Cheese, Pine Nuts and Sweet Onion Balsamic Dressing (get the full recipe here)

Parsnip Puree (get the full recipe here)

Amanda Benson is a Registered Dietitian and Wellness Strategy Manager with Vitality. She received her BS in nutrition at Michigan State University and completed her dietetic internship at the Medical University of South Carolina. When she’s not chasing around her two young children, she enjoys relaxing with a hot cup of coffee, running, attending concerts with her husband, and wine nights with girlfriends.

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