Fresh produce at the Byward Market

Eat Fresh: Your Guide to Winter Produce

Just because the temperature’s dropping, doesn’t mean you can’t eat fresh produce!  Tina Ruggiero, registered dietician and cookbook author, says that thanks to cold weather crops and agricultural methods, we can still enjoy produce throughout the winter.  Check out Tina’s favorite winter fruits and veggies, and consider adding a few to your cart the next time you’re at the grocery store!

Winter Squash

Tina is a fan of all types of winter squash – pumpkin, acorn squash and butternut squash – and says it should be a staple in everyone’s kitchen this winter.  Squash is low in calories but high in vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber and potassium. Not sure how to use squash? Tina makes a killer salad in her new cookbook, The Truly Healthy Family Cookbook, by tossing squash, walnuts, dried cranberries and kale with faro.


According to Tina, Kale is King! She says that just one cup of cooked kale contains more than 10 times the daily recommended amount of vitamin K, which helps maintain strong bones.  Tina says kale can be enjoyed either raw or cooked, and suggests the Russian and Lacinato varieties if kale usually turns you off because they have a more mild flavor and are more tender.

Brussels Sprouts

Tina says these veggies are tiny but mighty – they can help fight cancer, regulate insulin levels and keep teeth and bones strong.  Try them shredded in a slaw like Tina makes in her cookbook, or roast them for a delicious side dish.


Tangerines make a great, portable snack and are in season throughout the fall and winter.  Tina says tangerines can help fight cancer because they are packed with powerful antioxidants called lutein and zeaxanthan.  If you’re not into eating tangerines on their own, try substituting the juice for other citrus juices in your favorite marinade and serve extra tangerine slices on the side.


Tina says you really can’t beat beets!  This powerful root vegetable helps fight cancer, reduce inflammation and fights heart disease.  In The Truly Healthy Family Cookbook, Tina tosses beets with grapefruit for a unique salad that she says is delicious!

Check out The Truly Healthy Family Cookbook by Rina Ruggiero for more delicious ideas!

Check out The Truly Healthy Family Cookbook by Rina Ruggiero for more delicious ideas!


According to Tina, this licorice-flavored vegetable is full of nutrients, including vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients.  Raw, thinly sliced fennel can be added to salads, or it can be sauteed and served on its own or as part of a dish.


We were surprised to hear from Tina that pears have twice as much fiber as apples and as much vitamin C – who knew?!  Tina says her favorite way to enjoy pears is poached, which help to bring out the flavor of the pear.





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