In my blog post from last week, I gave you a few tips about how to survive and thrive during the winter holiday season. I lectured you about not eating empty-calorie snacks and junk food. But I didn’t tell you exactly what you should be eating. So let’s dive in and explore the best foods to eat in the winter. Sorry, gingerbread cookies aren’t on the list 🙁
Let me start off by saying that there is no one-size-fits-all diet. In order to find the absolute best foods for your unique chemistry, you need a DNA Health & Diet lab assessment, which yours truly offers. A DNA analysis gives us insight into 28 of your genes. These 28 genes are just a fraction of the total human genome. But these specific 28 genes are like a blueprint that determines which type of diet is right for you. Would you thrive with a high-fat/low-carb diet? Or would you do better on a balanced Mediterranean Diet plan? Only a DNA Health & Diet plan will reveal the best type of eating plan for you.
So with that in mind, take my recommendations for the best winter foods with a grain of salt. One gal’s sweet potato could be another’s poison. Well, that might be an exaggeration, but you get the point.
Best Starches To Eat In Winter
Only the strictest ketogenic dieter can avoid the temptation of starchy carbs (comfort food) in winter. Actually, I bet you dollars to donuts that even somebody who limits net grams of carbs (total grams of carbs minus grams of fiber) to 25 grams per day is at least tempted by the thought of a baked potato drizzled with melted butter, a dash of sour cream and chives. Yum. Drool.
So what can most of us who aren’t superhuman, avoiding carbs (I don’t envy keto dieters; there are smart carbs that are nutritious and delicious) do to satisfy their starch jones without packing on the extra pounds in the winter? Are there any starches that make this best foods to eat in winter list?
Well, for starters we shouldn’t eat baked or mashed potatoes. The only potato we should eat this time of year are sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are more nutrient-dense than standard white/Russet potatoes. (By the way, yams get confused with sweet potatoes. They are not the same. Yams come from Africa and are pale in color.)
What other starches should you fill your shopping cart with? The best starches that are high-nutrient density (that means they have a lot of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients with relatively few calories) and are in season include squash and pumpkin.
You can also fill your belly at lunch and dinner with other healthy grains such as quinoa, millet, farro, brown rice, wild rice, barley, buckwheat, 100% whole rye and emmer wheat. Emmer wheat has not undergone extensive changes over the years, so it’s easier to digest and won’t cause severe gluten allergies.
More Best Foods To Eat In Winter
For lunch and dinner, fill half your plate with one of the healthy starches above and almost the other half with some of these: kidney beans, black beans, lentils, peas, carrots, cabbage, brussel sprouts, green beans, beets, turnips, mushrooms and green leafy veggies and cruciferous veggies. Personally, I eat green leafy veggies and cruciferous veggies all year. Ounce for ounce, pound for pound, they are the most nutritious veggies all of us have access to.
Now what about fruit? I’m glad you asked. While fruit is usually ripe for the picking in summer, there are a few fruits that thrive in winter. Of course, the warmer parts of the U.S. grow citrus this time of year. So you can eat in moderation oranges, tangerines, mandarins, clementines and grapefruit.
You can also indulge in pomegranates, apples and pears. For a healthy treat, bake some pieces of persimmon in the oven and sprinkle with cinnamon. Warning: they are addictive. Don’t eat too much persimmon because they are relatively high in fructose (fruit sugar), which can elevate blood sugar levels.
Best Foods to Eat When It’s Freezing Outside: Conclusion
These are a good chunk of the foods on my winter shopping list. Again, because everybody is different, not all these foods mentioned above may contribute to balance in your body.
So what foods are on your shopping list? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you. If you’re struggling with what to eat, let’s talk.
Book a complimentary 30 minute discovery session with me. It’s the first step in a journey I’ll guide you on so you can reclaim your life and your health.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Until next time,
Jenna Witt, NP, Functional Medicine Practitioner