4 Best Picks for Winter Comfort

The single-digit temperatures and short, dark days of winter make plenty of people long for a little comfort. And what better way to feed your body and soul than with nourishing seasonal produce? Pick up the foods below and treat yourself to some homemade winter comfort.


They're high in folate, a nutrient that's known to prevent neural-rube defects in fetuses and can boost your serotonin levels (the feel-good hormone). Raw beets offer the highest folate levels, but many people prefer to buy them cooked and packaged. Sliced beets add sweetness and color to salads, and pair particularly well with goat cheese.


Kale grows well into the winter, making it an ideal addition to your cold-weather meals. Steaming kale may help lower cholesterol, and the vegetable has been shown to lower the risk of at least five different types of cancer. It also lowers inflammation in the body. Kale can be added to soups and stews or sautéed with a little garlic, salt, and olive oil and served as a complement to an array of main dishes. You can also bake and salt kale leaves to make kale chips, a terrific alternative to potato chips.


Experts say this whitish root vegetable deserves a place of honor at your table. Full of folate, vitamin C, and fiber, parsnips are sweetest after the first frost of the season and can be boiled in soups and stews or mashed as a side dish. Roast and dress parsnips with parsley for a pretty, filling accompaniment.

Sweet Potatoes

This vitamin A powerhouse is a welcome sight diced up in warming stews, sliced and baked into fries, or steamed and topped with a little cinnamon. You can mash it up as a side dish for a turkey dinner, too. Full of cancer-fighting antioxidants, the sweet potato is a worthwhile upgrade from the white potato. Besides a megadose of vitamin A, one sweet potato also offers a good dose of vitamin C, which may help shorten the duration and severity of a cold.

No matter which of these winter vegetables you choose to serve, always round out your meals with protein in order to stave off fatigue. Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are particularly good cold-weather choices as they contain omega-3 fatty acids that help boost mood—always comforting on frigid, gray days.




American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "Healthy Comfort Foods for Winter." Web. www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442466794

American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "Good Mood Foods to Fight Winter Blues." 3 January 2011. Web. www.eatright.org/media/blog.aspx?id=4294969572&blogid=269

American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "Try Parsnips at Their Peak." Web. www.eatright.org/Public/content,aspx?id=6442459539

The World's Healthiest Foods. "Sweet Potatoes." Web. www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=64

The World's Healthiest Foods. "Kale." Web. www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=38.