Written by Rakhee Maloo, BA  | 

Article Reviewed by The Medindia Medical Review Team on Jan 02, 2015

What are Top Ten Healthy Winter Foods?

Winter season is the best time to nourish the body with some seasonal produce as well as fortify your meals with foods that can really uplift and nourish your body and mood.

Different Kinds of Winter Foods

Top winter foods are those, which are warming and comforting to eat during the cold days but they also provide the required nutrition to the body. Winter foods also come packed with vital nutrients needed by the body in the season.

  • Load your plate with dark and vibrant leafy green vegetables. Leafy greens qualify as one of the top winter foods as they are full of vitamins such as C, A and also K. They are also a rich source of folate, omega-3s and many minerals. They can also be eaten as winter diet food as they are nutrient-dense foods with fewer calories. So include a lot of spinach, collards, kale, mustard greens and other leafy vegetables in your winter season food plans.
  • Citrus fruits are great winter foods. Eat your fill of oranges, grapefruits and limes to boost your immunity during the winters as citrus fruits are great sources of vitamin C. Oranges are also good sources of potassium, folate and fiber.
  • Lentils are one of the best foods to eat in winter. Get your protein boost and your body’s requirement of folic acid from different types of lentils. Use them generously in your meals for delicious winter food recipes.
  • Potatoes are great winter season food as they can be used for many warming recipes to beat the cold. This amazing vegetable is packed with vitamins B6 and C, folate and fiber.
  • A winter staple is sweet potato and this root vegetable is one of the best foods you can eat for your good health. They are full of vitamins C and A, potassium, sodium, calcium and fiber.
  • Eat your fill of winter squash or pumpkin as they can give you a healthy dose of potassium, magnesium, folate, fiber and vitamins A, B6, C and K.
  • Cheer up your dreary winters by consuming eggs on a regular basis. They are a good source of many essential vitamins A, B12, B6, E, K and minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, selenium, essential fatty acids and proteins. They are essential winter foods also as eggs are one of the few natural food sources of vitamin D, which humans can only get from sunlight and few others foods.
  • Mushrooms are another good natural source of vitamin D. So it makes sense to eat them in plenty during winters. They are also a top winter diet food because they come packed with many essential nutrients such as selenium and give fewer calories. They are good food sources for many winter recipes.
  • Nuts are top winter foods because they are warming, hearty and full of vitamin E, B-complex, omega-3s, magnesium, copper, fluoride, zinc, calcium selenium and healthy proteins. So include healthy nuts and seeds as your winter season food sources.
  • Beans are good winter foods as they make for heartier meals and are a good source of proteins and fiber and many essential nutrients such as calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, thiamine, riboflavin and B6.

Other great winter foods are carrots, beetroot and other root vegetables, chicken, peppers, onion, garlic, jaggery, green chilies, oats, dates, grapes and pomegranate.

Benefits of Eating Healthy Winter Foods

There is a reason nature is cyclical. There is a reason why certain foods are fresh and available to consume during a particular season. Seasonal produce come packed with the nutrition most required during a particular season.

Consuming healthy winter foods means eating the best that nature has to offer for the cold days and fortifying your meals and health with nutrients needed during this time. Sticking to seasonal produce is not only good for your health but also easier on your wallet as seasonal food sources are available in plenty during their peak season and hence are inexpensive to buy and to add to the meals for healthy and warming winter recipes.

Top Healthy Winter Food Recipes

Try these winter recipes for delicious and hearty meals.

Spicy Green Soup

Steam spinach leaves with one tomato, one onion and a few green chilies. Blend, sieve and add salt and black pepper powder. Enjoy. Vary flavors by using only spinach and tomato.

Tangy and Spicy Tomato Soup

Steam fresh tomatoes with onion, little garlic, beetroot, a few green chilies, carrots and bottle guard. Blend, sieve and add salt, black pepper powder, fresh mint or basil leaves. You can also add butter or fresh cream. Add or remove vegetables from this winter recipe as per your taste. Fortify this healthy recipe by adding cooked lentils to the dish. You can also add cooked rice vermicelli or wholegrain macaroni.

Sweet and Warm Apple and Tomato Soup

For those who crave sweet and warm winter foods, try this apple soup. Boil two apples with four tomatoes. Blend and sieve. Add salt and black pepper and relish.

Jaggery and Nuts Oatmeal

Make this winter recipe to indulge in a healthy and warm breakfast during cold days. Add jaggery pieces to water, let them melt, strain and cook your oats using this sweetened water. Add more water as needed. When oats are thoroughly cooked, add a bit of clarified butter (ghee) and some chopped nuts like almonds, cashews and pistachios. You can also add chopped dates or raisins to this recipe.

Egg and Chicken Rice

This is a very healthy winter recipe. You can use either eggs or chicken or both to make this lunch dish. Steam rice and keep aside. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When seeds splatter, add green chilies, grated garlic and ginger. Add thinly-sliced steamed carrots, chopped green beans, chopped raw spinach, thinly-sliced boiled eggs and cooked (boiled or roasted) chicken breast cubes. Add salt, red chili powder, turmeric powder and black pepper powder and mix well. Add rice, cover and let the dish cook for five minutes. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and fresh coriander leaves. Vary the flavors by using different oils such as mustard oil, peanut oil or olive oil to make this winter recipe.

Warm Bean Salad

Soak red kidney beans overnight and steam them so they are ready to eat. Heat olive oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and remove from heat when seeds start to splatter. Then add curry leaves, garlic paste, ginger paste and chopped green chilies. Add cooked green peas, some leafy greens and one boiled and cubed potato. Add beans, salt, black pepper powder and serve. You can substitute red kidney beans with other beans such as soybeans or black eyed beans or other lentils such as chick peas.

Also try these:

  • Make winter soups using seasonal vegetables like sweet potato, pumpkin and carrots.
  • Roast sweet potatoes, potatoes, broccoli and carrots to add to your dinner table.
  • Eat peanuts, sesame seeds and walnuts with jaggery.
  • Use garlic bread to make delicious vegetable toasts and sandwiches.
  • Drizzle olive oil over roast or steam potatoes and eat them with boiled eggs or mixed with leafy greens. Potatoes can also be used to make side dishes for your dinner.

Mix roasted sweet potato with tamarind paste, salt, roasted peanuts and fresh coriander leaves for a delicious winter snack.

Latest Publications and Research on Top Ten Healthy Winter Foods

Request an Appointment with a Doctor (Nutrition Expert)

Most Popular on Medindia