6 Foods to Beat The Winter Blues
This post written by guest blogger—Courtenay Miles
This time of year, winter seems to drag on and all we can do is wait for the first crocus to appear, or the first blossom of the dogwood tree to improve our winter Blahs! Alas, the groundhog indicates a few more week of winter.
Here are some food choices we can make now, to beat the winter doldrums. Choosing a variety of foods rich in vitamins and antioxidants can do wonders for your mood – even in these dark days!
Fortunately, beets are plentiful this season and a wonderful addition to salads, sandwiches and soups. Beets are rich in vitamins A, B and C and a great source of iron. Beets have also been shown to improve immune system function and help guard against cancer.
Another great source of iron, as well as vitamin K and folic acid, spinach is one food that retains its nutritional value whether it’s served fresh, steamed or boiled. What do we think about when we think of iron? Popeye! Oh yes, and increased energy!
Containing essential omega-3 fatty acids, the heart healthy fats that aid mood and memory, salmon (and other oily fish such as tuna as well as 100% grass-fed meats) can help boost mood.
Winter is the peak season for sweet oranges. In addition to a multitude of vitamins, oranges are packed full of flavonoids, antioxidants, calcium and magnesium. The iron helps increase oxygen carrying capacity, which in turn helps you feel more energetic. Plus, the bright orange color is certain to perk up any dreary looking side dish.
Whole Grain Oats
Whole grains are high in B vitamins. In addition, oats are soothing to the digestive track and help avoid the sugar “crash and burn” feelings that can lead to crabbiness and mood swings. Look for quinoa, spelt and whole grain brown rice to add to your meals.
Of course, when thinking about improving one’s mood, chocolate immediately comes to mind! Thankfully, eating a small amount of dark chocolate won’t wreak havoc on your diet. Instead it will help lower blood pressure and improve overall blood flow. Chocolate also contains the same chemical compounds that your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love!
Don’t despair! Spring is around the corner. Stop at your local farmers market this weekend and serve up some foods rich in vitamins and minerals and you won’t mind waiting it out with the groundhog!
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
- 2 teaspoons grated grapefruit peel
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 - 2 1/2 inch diameter unpeeled beets (tops trimmed)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 ounce bag of baby spinach
- 2 small pink grapefruits, peel cut away and cut into segments
- 2 oranges, peel cut away and cut into segments
- 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped chives
- Whisk vinegar, mustard, citrus peels and honey in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss beets in olive oil , salt and pepper. Wrap each beet in foil. Place directly onto oven rack and roast for approx. 60 minutes. Open the foil and let cool for 30 minutes. Rub skins off the beets and cut into wedges.
- Place spinach in bowl, toss with 2 tablespoons vinaigrette. Divide among plates. Add beets and citrus segments to the same bowl, along with 2 tablespoons vinaigrette - toss to coat. Arrange beet/orange mixture on top of spinach and sprinkle with feta cheese and chives.
Courtenay Miles enjoyed a long career in high tech public relations. Most recently, this Bay Area resident has turned her attention to her favorite finds in the San Francisco Area. In addition to sharing San Francisco’s wonderful “sights and bites”, she, her husband and three daughters are discovering new ways to prepare and appreciate each season’s produce bounty found in their weekly CSA delivery box! Recipes, adventures and day-to-day musings can be found at sfsightsandbites.blogspot.com