6 Must-have foods in winter

crop3_240x24010dec14Winter means pulling out the best shawls, comforters, cardigans and sweaters. In some parts, you experience extreme winters and some, moderate ones. But winters make everything beautiful. Days get shorter and nights longer and thus our metabolism also needs a boost. Good nutrition and correct cooking methods will keep your body warm and healthy through the winters. Given below are some foods which one must try and incorporate for better health.

  1. Sweet Potato: Available in plenty; Roasted, steamed, baked or in a curry form, this vegetable is always tasty. It is a powerhouse of nutrients, specially fibre and carbohydrates. Gives you instant energy and increases your satiety. Do try and add 1 – 2 pieces in your diet everyday.
  2. Fresh Garlic and Turmeric: These two fresh spices are available in abundance between December and February. Fresh garlic and fresh turmeric boosts your immune system and in turn aids healthy digestion.
  3. Green Vegetables like Sarson & Red Maath: freshly available in December and January. Sarson is a very common staple in the North. Add it with a dash of white butter and you will have a delicious healthy vegetable. Goes best with Makkai/ Corn roti. On the other hand laal or red math is a leafy vegetable common to the West. Goes well with Rice Bhakri or roti. Both these green vegetables are rich source of iron and trace nutrients.
  4. Goondh/ Gum: Pure edible gum also known as Goondh in the common language. Healthy when the winters get harsh. It helps to generate body heat and also relives constipation. Goondh ladoos are very common in the west.
  5. Carrots/ Shalgam (turnips): Available like the greens, best during the winter months. Take it as a vegetable or raw in the form of a salad. A good source of antioxidant, fibre and very low on calories. You can also make sweet halwas out of these two vegetables.
  6. Til/ Sesame Seeds: black or white, both are rich in nutrients like zinc, selenium and iron. They give natural body heat and are best when served with coconut and jaggery. Roast some til and sprinkle as and when possible.

Apart from the above winter specific foods, here are a few tips to stay healthy and eat nutrititious this winter:

  • Do remember to add hot soups and broths, dals and rasams in your diet.
  • Do add herbs and spices like Tulsi, Mulethi, Pepper, and Cinnamon to boost your immunity. Dates, Mushrooms, Jaggery, and Honey also help in generating natural body heat and thus healthy digestion.
  • Keep exercising as and when possible to stay fit and active.
  • Hydrate enough – 3 – 4 litres of water daily.

Finally, remember winters are beautiful, but do remember to eat healthy to stay fit & beautiful!

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Ms. Malavika Athavale
Consulting Nutritionist
Eatrite – The Nutrition Clinic

Malavika Athavale has a PG Diploma in Dietetics from SNDT University (Mumbai) and industry experience in clinical and pediatric nutrition. She founded Eatrite – The Nutrition Clinic where she provides her consultancy services in individual diet counseling and corporate well-being initiatives.

Image: Getty Images

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