It always seems so much easier to feast on fruits and veggies when the sun is shining and the farmers markets are full of gorgeous colour.  Then the leaves start to change, the weather gets cold – and here in Vancouver – a bit miserable. Thoughts turn to cozy blankets and hot chocolate and somehow, eating a lot of spinach salad just doesn’t seem like a priority!

Trouble is, avoiding plant foods for 5 months of the year is going to leave you at a long term nutritional deficit – and plants provide essential nutrients for fortifying your defences during cold and flu season! Most of us don’t get the four to five cups of veggies recommended by health professionals but in fact, winter is the when the least expensive veggies abound! Root veggies are inexpensive and lend themselves to comforting, warm soups, stews and casseroles. And, if you live in a more temperate coastal area, with a little care you can grow greens in a pot through the winter months. So here are some fantastic tips to keep you plant-powered through spring. Enjoy!

Make a green smoothie:

If you’re one of those people doing the mad dash out the door in the morning, then a smoothie is your answer. Yes, it’s cold…just crank up the heat in your car. Blending up a smoothie is a great way to start the day; adding greens a big handful of kale or spinach will up your veggie quotient, effortlessly.  Talk about a productive morning!

Sneak veggies into winter baking:

Veggies where you least expect them: your baking! Zucchini works very well in baking and results in super moist and delicious breads and muffins, and the best part?  You can’t even taste it! This is also a great way to add in more greens if you have kids that aren’t fond of their veggies. Try grated carrots, grated beets or pureed sweet potato or pumpkin too.

Make veggie-full comfort food: 

During the fall and winter, we often crave heartier foods.  The cooler temperatures pair nicely with foods that bring warmth and spice to our table.  When you aren’t keen on that summery salads,  roasting vegetables with a bit of oil and seasoning. Squash, mushrooms and cauliflower are some vegetables that taste incredible roasted – they’ll make a great vegetable dish for your next meal.

Have a seasonal produce outing:

There are so many great vegetables that are in season during the colder months!  Carrots, brussel sprouts, kale, broccoli, cabbage, sweet potatoes, and winter squashes are just some of the many vegetables this season has to offer!  Make it social: grab friends and invite them for a market meal. Hit up your local winter market together, fill a basket and cook together, over a glass of wine.

What other ideas can you turn-ip?
(Check out the turnip love on Vine)

 Thanks to Britney Lentz for her help putting together this post!