While the weather outside can be cold, the shelves in the supermarket are full of winter fruits from warm climates. These SmartCarbs are sweet, juicy and ideal for snacks or flavorful ingredients in your flex meals. Even better, they're packed with nutrients and fiber that can protect your health and even help speed up your weight loss. Make sure to load your shopping cart with these delicious winter fruits while they are in season.
Here are six winter fruits that you need to replenish:
1. Citrus fruits
Why: Citrus starts our list of winter fruits. Oranges, mandarins, grapefruits, and all other members of the citrus family are high in vitamin C, which helps your immune system fight off seasonal colds and flu. Recent research by the American Chemical Society also found that nutrients known as flavanones, which are abundant in citrus fruits, may reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes in obese people. Freshly squeezed juice contains most of the nutrients, but eat the whole fruit to get all of the healthy fiber in it.
To buy: Look for citrus fruits that feel heavy in your hand – this indicates they are full of juice. The skin should be shiny and free from dry spots. Small mandarins (or clementines) are less firm than oranges, which makes the skin easier to remove.
To attempt: Use pieces of orange to give salads a tangy flavor (hate peel oranges? Check out this easy way to peel an orange! >). Frying lemons dampens their sour taste and brings out their sweetness – press them on baked chicken or seafood. These Vanilla berry grapefruit smoothie bowl> is one of our favorite breakfasts with lots of protein and healthy fats to keep you energized all morning.
Why: One of the powerful winter fruits is the powerful pomegranate. These exotic fruits have become a hugely popular "superfruit" in recent years, despite having been a staple in the Middle Eastern diet for centuries. The seeds – or rather, the juicy sacs around the seeds known as "arilles" – are the tasty parts of the fruit, while the dry pulp is best thrown away. (You can eat the whole arillas, seeds, and anything.) The juice has a sweet and sour taste that is similar to that of a tart cherry. Half a cup of Arils is just 72 calories, contains three and a half grams of fiber, and provides you with a healthy dose of potassium. A study published in the journal Advanced Biomedical Research reports that pomegranates contain micronutrients known as polyphenols that lower inflammation and cholesterol, thereby lowering the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
To buy: Ripe pomegranates are not spherical in shape but can be lumpy or have flattened sides where the seeds press against the skin. Look for those that are dark red and firm, with smooth but tough skin. They're long-lasting, so you can keep them in your fridge for up to two months. You can also buy just the arils that have already been removed from the pulp – find them in the refrigerated section of the product department.
To attempt: Mix the arilles with natural yoghurt, a smoothie or hot muesli. Use their tangy flavor to spice up simple seltzer. Throw the arillas in salads made from vegetables or grains. Roast roast lamb or chicken with a quick taste made from pomegranate arilles. Find more ways to enjoy them here! >
Why: Pineapple is one of our favorite winter fruits. The sunny, sweet taste of pineapple is like a taste of the tropics. The juicy, yellow pulp contains vitamin C – more than 100 percent of your recommended daily allowance in one cup – as well as fiber and potassium. Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapples, makes digestion easier and, according to a study published in BioMedical Reports, prevents excessive inflammation and may even inhibit the growth of tumors.
To buy: Look at the skin color: the more yellow a pineapple is, the smoother it tastes. It should be firm but give gently when you press your thumb into it. It should also have a faint, sweet aroma at its base. Avoid wrinkled or soft leaves, or odorless or brown leaves. Eat your pineapple within a week or so of bringing it home. You can also find peeled and sliced pineapples in the freezer section.
To attempt: Pineapple chunks and fat-free cottage cheese make a filling breakfast or snack. Grilling brings out the hearty taste of pineapple. Use it on shredded chicken or pork tacos, or as a topping on baked fish. Many people enjoy the sweet taste on pizza. We like to start the day with Pineapple Upside Down Banana Pancakes! > Another absolute favorite is Pineapple Chicken Kebabs. >
Why: Once known as the Chinese gooseberry, kiwi is a flaky, oval-shaped fruit. Inside the brown exterior is light green flesh with dark, edible seeds. Many people find that kiwi fruit tastes like strawberries but has a meatier texture. Kiwis have a higher concentration of vitamin C than citrus fruits, as well as a healthy dose of potassium. The fruit has a glycemic rating of four, which makes it a great choice for people with diabetes.
To buy: Kiwis are about the size of an extra-large egg or a small plum. Choose fruits that are plump but give in to the gentle pressure of your fingers. Tough kiwis are unripe, but you can soften them by placing them in a paper bag with a banana or apple at room temperature for a few days.
To attempt: You can peel and thinly slice kiwi fruit, or just cut in half and scoop out the delicious meat with a spoon. (The fibrous skin is edible, and many people like to eat it.) Add kiwi slices to salads with flavorful greens. Our brilliant green Kiwi Vanilla Smoothie> Contains a PowerFuel and a portion of vegetables.
Why: Another of our best winter fruits is the mango. Ripe mangoes taste similar to peaches, but are even more fragrant and sweeter, although there are slight differences between the different varieties. Sour unripe mangoes are often used in recipes. The meat in the thin outer skin has a texture like that of cantaloupe – firm but full of juice. In the center is a large, flat seed that is easy to remove. One cup of mango has 100 calories and three grams of fiber. It provides 70 percent of your recommended daily allowance for vitamin C and about 35 percent of the vitamin A you need every day, which helps boost your immune system during the cold months.
To buy: A well-stocked supermarket can offer four or five different types of mango, including those with skin that is green when ripe, as well as the more popular yellow and reddish varieties. Ataulfo is the sweetest and has the creamiest texture – its highest availability is in late winter. Regardless of the variety, mangoes are ripe when they soften, like avocados and peaches. The skin may be a little wrinkled, but avoid those with mushy patches – it's too soft. Mango pieces can also be found in the freezer section of the grocery store.
To attempt: Mangoes get pretty juicy and slippery when you cut into them. The easiest way to prepare them is to cut the fruit in half, remove the seed, and use the point of a sharp knife to score the pulp to create cubes. Turn the halves into a plate, then bend the skin back, and press the cubes loose with your fingers. Or you can simply cut the fruit in half and scoop it out with a spoon. Check out the easiest way to prepare them here! > Mangoes add a lot of bulk and sweetness Smoothies> or too homemade Chia pudding. > Throw diced mango into grain salads. Combine mango slices with jerk chicken and other spicy dishes. We love this simple but delicious one Mango Salsa> with seafood.
Why: To complete our list of winter fruits, we would like to talk about the fantastic apple. We tend to think of apples as the autumn fruit, but many of the best-flavored varieties are plentiful in winter, especially sweet varieties like Fuji, Gala and the very popular Honeycrisp, as well as the spicy Granny Smith. All of these varieties tend to have a very crispy texture that allows them to stay fresh long after they are picked. Apples are low in calories and rich in soluble and insoluble fiber. They help you feel full and allow your body to absorb their nutrients gradually. The old adage goes that "one apple a day keeps the doctor away," but a study in Nutrition magazine reported that daily consumption of apples is also highly correlated with weight loss in overweight women.
To buy: The color of the skin is not an indicator of the ripeness of an apple – each variety has its own shade, which can be mottled or paler (or greener!) Than others. For winter varieties, look for fruits that are heavy and firm. Press on the bottom to see how strong they are and avoid any weak spots. Apples are kept in a cool, dry place for weeks – they don't need to be kept in the refrigerator. If you put them in the refrigerator, take them out of plastic bags, which can trap moisture and cause rot.
To attempt: Apples are the easiest to take away snacks so you can take them with you to eat at work or in the car. Layer thin apple slices in turkey rolls. Dab some peanut butter on apple slices for some protein and healthy fats. Dice Granny Smith apples and add to salads. For a quick and healthy dessert, make a batch of ours Cinnamon seasoned baked apples! >