2023 Winter Healthful Eating Tips

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Five Easy Ways to use In-Season Winter Produce!



A popular new side dish at restaurants, broccolini is similar to broccoli, but with thinner stalks, and has a milder/sweeter taste compared to its cousin.

Try making it as a side dish cooked with garlic, sesame oil and low-salt soy sauce, mixed into your favorite stir fry, or mixed with whole wheat pasta, olive oil, garlic and a parmesan cheese for a fresh, new pasta dish!

It can also be added to salads, soups or mixed with chicken, chic pea or tofu dishes, just add any low salt sauce you would like to the chicken, chic pea/tofu (such as soy or teriyaki), any other desired veggies and enjoy!


With so many varieties of apples, there are plenty of choices to try! Whether simply for an easy on the go snack, or to use with cooking or baking, apples are super easy to add to your day.

Try them chopped up in a fruit salad with bananas and berries, add them to oatmeal or cold cereal for breakfast, or try a yogurt, granola and chopped apple parfait.

Apples can also be used for applesauce in baking to use in place of butter for muffins and quick breads, or try them in a roasted veggie casserole along with winter squash, turnips and sweet potatoes, a bit of olive oil and hint of salt to add some sweetness to this side dish!


Butternut Squash, Spaghetti Squash, Acorn Squash etc. are all varieties in the winter squash family. They are easy to cook, and to use to incorporate into your favorite dishes, or to be the main star of your meal such as in trying butternut squash ravioli. Just add a side green salad, or side of roasted veggies, and you have an easy to make meal!

These cooked squashes are also delicious mashed with a small amount of a plant based butter, or lower fat butter spread. These spreads use vegetable oils to help make the squash creamy, just add a dash of salt and you’re done!

Spaghetti Squash has been growing popular over the past few years as a substitute for traditional wheat pastas in order to lower the carbohydrate intake of the meal. Made right, these dishes can be just as satisfying as a regular bowl of pasta! Try pairing this cooked squash with shrimp, cauliflower and broccoli (or broccolini), and add a bit of olive oil, basil, garlic and a dash of salt, enjoy!


Popular citrus fruits include grapefruits, oranges, limes, and lemons. But there are also tasty varieties such as clementines, blood oranges, pomelos and tangerines!

Try any of these fruit juices in a homemade marinade for meats, poultry, beans, or tofu, added to a salad dressing for a pop of flavor, added to a fruit salad, or try making a smoothie with any of these fruits with yogurt, mangos and bananas for a tasty treat.

Other quick ideas include a side dish of cauliflower, broccolini, or zucchini with lemon juice olive oil and a hint of salt, squeezing fresh juices into your teas, waters, and other beverages for a flavor boost, or a side dish of green beans with canola oil, orange/clementine or tangerine juice mixed with fresh or dried ginger root!


This is one of my favorite quick breakfast options or as a snack for the day! Take one or two slices of whole wheat toast, top with a tomato slice, avocado slices and low fat cheddar cheese slices for a delicious and nutrient packed option for your day!

Another easy way to use fresh avocados is to make your own guacamole by smashing up avocadoes, mixing with lemon juice, tomato chunks, salt/pepper, onions and hot peppers if desired. Use whole grain crackers or corn chips to enjoy this fabulous dip!

Five Easy Ways to use In-Season Winter Produce!


1. Start Cooking!

Stay warm inside and start cooking more! Making meals at home has many benefits including more quality time with family and friends, saving money by limiting meals eaten outside your home and/or take-out food, and it boosts your overall nutrition & health this season. There are many quick/easy to make meal ideas with an internet search!

Start out small by maybe picking a few days that week to bring/make your own lunch, and a few days that would work for you to prepare dinner at home during the week. An easy tip for planning meals is to make sure your meal contains a vegetable and/or fruit, a healthy protein such as chicken, fish, turkey, beans, tofu or nuts, and a source of healthy carbohydrate such as brown rice, whole wheat breads & pastas, oatmeal, quinoa, sweet potatoes or barley.

2. Watch Your Portion Sizes!

The winter season is full of holiday celebrations, family gatherings, and sports games to enjoy as well. With all that comes plenty of opportunities to over eat and indulge on this seasons delicious dishes and treats… Try being more aware of portion sizes, as having smaller portions will also allow you to sample more food items at the party!

Making sure to fill up on fruits and veggies is another party tip that works. The water and fiber from these foods will help you to feel fuller quicker, so you are less likely to indulge! Also, having a healthy snack or mini meal at home before going to the celebration can help to curb your appetite allowing you to enjoy all that the party has to offer!

3. Keep Moving!

Keep warm and keep moving this winter! Ask a friend or family member to join an indoor yoga/exercise class/swimming class with you. You both will
be more likely to follow through and commit to your classes together and get healthy!

Also, try easy stretches at home, as well as simple sit ups, push-ups, and squats, etc. There are many quick and easy workouts available online. Aim to start with 30 minutes, 2-3 x’s/week made up of different activities. Make sure to include some weights or resistance training along with your cardio exercises.

Even 10 minutes 2-3x/day a few days per week goes a long way to a better you! Start small, drink water, and always listen to your body!

4. Ensure Healthy Options Are Available!

Any invitations for parties and holiday celebrations? Help yourself by bringing your own healthy dish or appetizer to the event that way you can ensure there is something healthy to choose from and enjoy.

My favorite easy to make options are a simple caprese salad with low fat mozzarella,  a bruschetta with low fat mozzarella on a soft, whole wheat baguette, a tray of cut up veggies and fruits with low fat cheese, hummus, and low fat ranch dressing,  whole corn tortilla chips served with a low salt salsa mixed with black beans, and guacamole, or vegetarian stuffed peppers with brown rice, onions, spices, with a bit of parmesan sprinkled on top!

5. Drink Up!

Hydration is key! During the winter and holiday season there are many more reasons and
opportunities to have caffeinated and alcoholic drinks. Outdoor winter activities including snow removal, all can zap water from our bodies. Also,

when the weather is cold, we are less likely to drink water, and notice if we are thirsty!

Try the huge variety of flavored sparkling waters in the market, sip on some hot green or herbal tea, or simply have a few glasses of plain water
with lime or lemon juice squeezed in. I also find it helpful to have a couple of refillable water bottles at home to use and take out with me. It becomes a habit to have it with me wherever I go!

6. Snack vs Treat? Know the Difference!

A snack is nutrient rich and low in saturated (bad) fats, sugars and salt. Whole types of foods like fresh fruits and berries, low fat yogurts & cheeses, whole grain crackers, and energy rich nuts or seeds (try pumpkin or sunflower seeds) are healthy, quick and easy. Most people need about 2-3 snacks/day so aim to have that, plus 3 healthy meals to make sure you have plenty of energy and nutrients throughout your day!

On the flip side, treats typically have a lot of salt,  calories from sugars and unhealthy fats and offer little to no nutrient value to your body.

Treats or desserts should be enjoyed once a day! Familiar examples of treats are chips, cookies, cakes, ice cream, candy, soda, and juice. Everything in moderation!

7. Have Plenty of Fruits & Vegetables!

Help bump up your immunity and overall health this winter by including plenty of antioxidant rich fruits and veggies in your diet. Fill up on in season produce as it’s cheaper and more readily available, in addition to being fresher most times at purchase than other veggies and fruits. Try new ways to use carrots, broccolini, Brussel sprouts, turnips, apples, winter squash, citrus fruits and cauliflower this season. One easy way to make sure you have enough every day is to include a fruit or veggie at each meal, and with at least one snack per day. And remember, the darker the color, the more antioxidants you are getting to help your body fight off illnesses and keep healthy!

*Good Nutrition + Movement + Sleep  = A healthier you! For this season and the next!

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Malden Community Food Assessment Cover Image
Click for the Massachusetts-Grown Produce Availability Chart!
Plants in the Malden Community Garden

What is the difference between Healthy and Healthful?

Healthy, they say, cannot be used to mean conducive to good health. … So it’s OK to use healthy and healthful as synonyms for conducive to good health: have a healthy snack or a healthful one. But if you’re referring to someone who enjoys good health, however, use healthy because it’d be weird to call a person healthful.

Healthy versus Healthful: The problem is that some people insist that you can’t say your salad is healthy; you have to say it’s healthful because only healthful can mean “conducive to good health.” The thinking is that only a living thing can be healthy—if we’re in good health, you and I can describe ourselves as healthy. Healthy is a personal characteristic, but things that are dead, things we consume, aren’t healthy anymore. If they’re good for us, they’re healthful.

This word pair, healthful and healthy, has been causing debate for over a century. The question is whether these adjectives can both be used to mean conducive to good health. This is what gets some word mavens’ blood boiling. Healthy, they say, cannot be used to mean conducive to good health. But according to the Oxford English Dictionary, healthy has been a synonym for healthful since its earliest appearance in print… in 1552.

So it’s OK to use healthy and healthful as synonyms for conducive to good health: have a healthy snack or a healthful one. But if you’re referring to someone who enjoys good health, however, use healthy because it’d be weird to call a person healthful. Save healthful for the granola and healthy for your personal trainer.

Check Out These 7 Winter Tips To Help you Stay Healthy & Start Your New Year Out Right!

Eating right doesn’t have to be complicated. Before you eat, think about what goes on your plate or in your bowl. Choose foods that provide the nutrients you need without too many calories. Build your healthy plate with foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein foods. Try the eating right tips in the boxes below!

Make half your plate fruits and vegetables!
Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green, red and orange vegetables plus beans and peas. Fresh, frozen and canned vegetables all count. Choose “reduced sodium” or “no-salt-added” canned vegetables.
Make at least half your grains whole
Choose 100% whole-grain breads, cereals, crackers, pasta and brown rice. Also, look for fiber-rich cereals to help stay regular.
Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese
Older adults need more calcium and vitamin D to help keep bones healthy. Include three servings of fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt or cheese each day. If you are lactose intolerant try lactose-free milk or a calcium-fortified soy beverage.
Vary your protein choices
Eat a variety of foods from the protein food group each week, such as seafood, nuts, and beans and peas, as well as lean meat, poultry and eggs.
Cut back on sodium and empty calories from solid fats and added sugars
Look out for salt (sodium) in foods you buy. Compare sodium in foods and choose those with lower numbers. Add spices or herbs to season food without adding salt. Make major sources of saturated fats such as desserts, pizza, cheese, sausages and hot dogs occasional choices, not everyday foods. Switch from solid fats to oils when preparing food. Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Select fruit for dessert. Eat sugary desserts less often.
Enjoy your food but eat less
Most older adults need fewer calories than in younger years. Avoid oversized portions. Try using a smaller plate, bowl and glass.

Cook more often at home, where you are in control of what’s in your food.

When eating out, choose lower calorie menu options. Choose dishes that include begetables, fruits and whole grains. When portions are large, share a meal or take half home for later.

Write down what you eat to keep track of how much you eat.

Be physically active your way
Pick activities that you like and start by doing what you can. Every bit adds up and health benefits increase as you spend more time being active.

If you are currently inactive, start with a few minutes of activity such as walking. Gradually increase the minutes as you become stronger.

Consult a registered dietitian nutritionist if you have special dietary needs
A registered dietitian nutritionist can create a customized eating plan for you. Visit www.eatright.org to find a registered dietitian nutritionist near you.

Healthy Eating Links