Fill Your Plate with Tasty Winter Produce

Everyone loves to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the summer months when our markets are filled with endless options. But, what about the winter months?

It is equally important to incorporate fruits and veggies to your diet all year long.

According to Choose MyPlate, a nutritional guide implemented by the United States Department of Agriculture, half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables. This debunks our common belief that fruits and vegetables should compliment our meats and starches.

In fact, we receive most of our essential nutrients from the food that grows from the ground (and on trees).

Fruits and vegetables contain several vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are important for good health. Each fruit and vegetable has its own benefits that can keep you feeling your absolute best, especially during the cold Michigan weather. Surely, your body and mind will thank you for eating an abundance and a variety of these power-enriched foods.

The seasonal winter fruits are citrus based, such as:

  • Lemons
  • Cranberries
  • Clementines
  • Grapefruits

Citrus fruits are full of vitamin C, an antioxidant that is great for your immune system. From preventing the common cold, to fighting off stress, you cannot go wrong with eating citrus fruits during the winter months.

As for the seasonal vegetables, look for:

  • Artichokes
  • Beets
  • Parsnips
  • Squash
  • Cabbage

Vegetables contain some of the same benefits as fruits, also being packed full of vitamins and nutrients.

If you’ve never ventured far from common legumes, now is the perfect time. Don’t be afraid to pick up a couple veggies at your local market that you’ve never tried before – you just might be surprised at how much you like them.

Winter produce can be incorporated into many flavorful dishes to maintain a healthy (and tasty) intake of vegetables and fruits throughout the winter.

Here a couple recipes to get you started.

Maple Roasted Root Vegetables

This recipe includes several winter vegetables into one delicious dish. If you are reluctant to try out the winter produce, just know these vegetables will be syrup glazed. And, we all know any meal that calls for maple syrup is a must try.


  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 2 beets, peeled and diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and diced
  • Extra virgin olive oil (for drizzling)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • A pinch of ground nutmeg


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. While the oven is heating up, prepare the vegetables by putting them all into a bowl (diced into the same-sized pieces). Drizzle just enough olive oil to lightly coat the veggies. Then, toss them with a spoon until they’re evenly coated.
  3. Spread the vegetables onto a rimmed baking sheet, and sprinkle them with salt. When the oven is ready, put them in for 30-35 minutes. Make sure to lightly turn them at least twice as they roast.
  4. While the vegetables roast, prepare the maple glaze by placing the maple syrup, butter and cinnamon into a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then remove from heat.
  5. Pour the maple glaze onto the vegetables once they are done cooking. Then, carefully toss them for an even coat. Serve warm and enjoy!

Cranberry Citrus Salad

This salad contains several complimenting flavors, containing a mix of orange, cranberry and a sweet balsamic taste. This flavorful salad is the perfect first course to any meal.


  • 2 small heads of lettuce, rinsed and torn (Bib or Butter lettuce works well)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can of mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1½ cups of fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup of candied pecans
  • ¼ cup of goat cheese crumbles
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of water

Dressing Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • Juice from ½ an orange (about ¼ cup)
  • Zest from ½ an orange (about 1 tablespoon)


  1. In a small bowl, combine the cranberries, sugar and water. Microwave for about two minutes until the cranberries begin to pop. Then, remove the bowl from the microwave and let cool.
  2. In a larger bowl, add the lettuce, oranges, pecans and goat cheese crumbles. Toss to combine.
  3. Next, add the cooled cranberries and toss again.
  4. To make the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, honey, orange juice and orange zest in a small bowl.
  5. Once it’s evenly combined, pour the dressing over the salad and serve immediately.