Combine all the deliciousness of the holidays with the waning activity levels wrought by colder weather and shorter days, and it’s easy to emerge from winter looking like a grizzly bear. Moderation is the secret, of course, and part of that means stocking your kitchen smartly, with plenty of nourishing bites to balance out the inevitable (no, essential!) indulgences.
For winter grocery shopping guidance, we tapped Lisa Jubilee of Living Proof NYC, a board-certified dietician and nutritionist. “To stay healthy all year round, we need to consume sufficient protein, essential vitamins and minerals and essential fatty acids,” says Jubilee. “During the winter months, when we’re spending more time indoors and are more susceptible to viral infections like the common cold or flu, it’s even more important to consume vitamins and minerals that can support optimal immune function.”
No matter your preferred mode of grocery shopping these days, Jubilee says a bit of planning goes a long way. “With fewer activities to entertain us during the winter, we tend to turn to food as comfort and entertainment,” she says. “I recommend not waiting until you’re hungry to decide what you’re going to eat to nourish yourself.”
Here are six foods and beverages to keep on hand this winter that your body will thank you for.
1. Rely on a glug of the good stuff
Fats are an essential part of any diet, but not all fats are the same. Olive oil contains the healthy kind also known as monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). Swap in extra virgin olive oil for foods with higher saturated fat like butter or hydrogenated cooking oils. Use extra virgin olive oil for everything from sautéing to mixing up a salad dressing or sauce—just add a few dry spices, a squeeze of lemon and you’re off to a vibrant start.
2. Opt for drinks that do more than quench your thirst
Somewhere in the space between lunch, dinner and getting a workout in, there’s a need for a delicious and refreshing treat. KeVita’s Apple Cider Vinegar Tonics pack an uplifting, effervescent punch in a range of flavors, including Meyer Lemon, Elderberry, Mandarin Ginseng and Turmeric Ginger. Each revitalizing, low-calorie bottle is an excellent source of Vitamin C and offers a delicious way to get in 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Oh, and don’t forget, all KeVita drinks provide you billions of live probiotics.
“Fermented foods like apple cider vinegar can be excellent sources of probiotics,” says Jubilee. Probiotics are live microorganisms that may work with your gut microbiota, the trillions of micro-organisms living in your intestine. Research suggests probiotics can break down non-digestible components of your diet, produce B vitamins, and out-compete the “bad” bacteria. Gut microorganisms are also important to immune function, so “we want to make sure our gut bacteria are well fed and flourishing during the winter months,” adds Jubilee.
3. Snack smart with DIY Trail Mix
Quick bites between meals are essential to have on hand, especially with many of us now working from home. “During the winter months when we’re less active, I recommend sticking with low sugar options that won’t trigger the urge to keep eating,” suggests Jubilee. “Make your own trail mix with a variety of nuts, seeds and maybe a few dark chocolate chips.”
Customize your mix with your favorite ingredients, then portion it out so you don’t finish it all off in one afternoon. When it comes to adding chocolate (let’s be real, that’s a must), Jubilee recommends opting for a blend with 70% cacao or higher. “The higher the percentage of cacao, the lower the sugar content,” she says. You get all the chocolate flavor without the downside of a sugar rush.
4. Start the day out right
Getting going on a cold, dark morning can be tough, but it’s easier when you’ve got a steaming bowl of oatmeal (and healthy, tasty toppings) in front of you. Oatmeal is rich in fiber, which contributes to overall digestive health and has been associated with a reduced risk for heart disease.
Oats are an easy staple to keep around the house, and oatmeal is infinitely customizable. The same add-ons for DIY trail mix work great topping oatmeal as well. Looking for a protein boost? Add a scoop of Greek yogurt.
Try pairing your morning oats with a KeVita Sparkling Probiotic Drink, a light, fruit-forward blend fermented with KeVita’s proprietary water kefir culture. Each serving boasts billions of live probiotics, while the 9 refreshing flavors like Lemon Cayenne and Lemon Ginger are a welcome wakeup call. Both flavors come in a new family-size, 40-ounce bottle–perfect for the whole household to enjoy throughout the week. Now it’s easy to pour and sip a glass whenever you’d like.
5. Go fishing the winter way
Protein is an essential component of a healthy diet. Generally speaking, aim to eat .36 grams of protein per pound of your body weight (for instance, 72 grams, if you’re 200 pounds). Look to the sea for healthy proteins that you can keep in the kitchen all winter.
Canned salmon is a nutritious, cost-effective source of protein that’s rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Dress up canned salmon with lemon, capers and extra virgin oil for a satisfying snack or salad, or bring some warm weather vibes with salmon tacos.
6. Try hearty soup and a tasty sip
A bowl of soup on a cold winter night is the perfect way to warm up—plus it’s an easy meal to make. “I like to have a few cartons of organic hearty black bean and lentil soups on hand during the winter months, in case the weather prevents me from venturing outdoors to grocery shop,” says Jubilee. Make your soup even healthier and heartier by adding fresh winter leafy greens like Tuscan kale, Swiss chard or collard greens.
Enjoy your hearty bowlful with a KeVita Master Brew Kombucha. This tasty, bold beverage, made by fermenting tea with a culture of bacteria and yeast, contains billions of live probiotics, as well as organic acids. Try Pineapple Peach, now available in a 40-ounce bottle. When each day has a tasty, nourishing element, winter transforms from a season to endure, to a season to enjoy.
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