Health Benefits of Fall and Winter Vegetables

By Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD 

Colorful leaves are falling, there’s a chill in the air, and pumpkin spice is popping up everywhere!  

In addition to the distinct smells, colors, and flavors that come with fall and winter, there are several vegetables associated with these seasons. 

Pumpkin, squash, beets, and other root vegetables make their debut as the temperatures drop, and bring with them a ton of nutrients and health benefits.  

So why not take advantage of everything seasonal produce has to offer? If you’re looking to mix up your veggie intake, it’s a great time of year to try something new. 

Types and Benefits of Fall and Winter Vegetables 

Vegetables that grow in the fall and winter can survive cold temperatures, and include root vegetables and other hearty plants. 

Here are some of the best fall and winter vegetables, as well as their possible health benefits: 

  • Dark, leafy greens: kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, spinach 

    Rich in plant-based calcium and vitamins A and K, and contain compounds that may help fight inflammation in the body. 

  • Carrots 

    Loaded with the antioxidant beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A in the body. In fact, one large carrot has over 200% of your daily vitamin A needs! 

  • Parsnips 

    A cousin of the carrot that’s rich in vitamins B, C, and E and packed with fiber that can aid digestion. 

  • Beets 

    Rich in folate and vitamin C, as well as nitrates that may help lower blood pressure and betalain pigments that have anti-inflammatory properties. Not to mention, they’re so pretty! 

  • Brussels sprouts 

    Full of vitamins K and C, fatty acids, and antioxidants that have been shown to fight oxidative stress that can lead to disease. 

  • Pumpkin 

    Very high in beta-carotene, vitamin C, and other antioxidant compounds, including lutein and zeaxanthin. It’s also rich in fiber and potassium. 

  • Butternut squash 

    Contains fiber, antioxidant vitamins, B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and manganese.  

  • Turnips 

    Rich in several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, which is vital for proper blood clotting. 

  • Rutabaga (swede) 

    Excellent source of vitamin C (over 100% of the daily value in one medium rutabaga) and can help boost immunity during the cold months! 

How to Use Fall and Winter Vegetables  

It’s easy incorporate seasonal vegetables into your meals during the fall and winter. 

 Here are some of our favorite ways: 

  • Drizzle sliced beets, carrots, and parsnips with olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs, and roast in the oven. 

  • Puree cooked pumpkin or butternut squash into a “mash” and serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt. 

  • Shred Brussels sprouts into a slaw or salad and toss with lemon juice and olive oil. 

  • Sautee leafy greens with red wine vinegar and red pepper flakes for an easy side dish. 

  • Roast whole carrots and parsnips, then drizzle with a maple tahini dressing. 

  • Mix squash or pumpkin into oatmeal. 

  • Roast turnips or rutabaga and blend into hummus or dips. 

 Note from Healthy For Life Meals: Not much of a cook? Well we are! Enjoy healthful, delicious seasonal vegetables as part of your chef-prepared, nutritionally controlled meal plan. Get started towards your health goals with one of our weight loss meal plans. Choose your plan today.

Stef Keegan