158912998Although these winter months may be cold and gloomy, there’s an easy way to add a little brightness to your day. Citrus fruits (such as oranges, grapefruits, kumquats, mandarins, tangerines, and lemons) come into season in the winter months. Citrus fruits are great sources of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, and flavonoids which can help to reduce inflammation and prevent cancer. Citrus fruits make excellent grab-and-go snacks for when you are on the move.

Here are some other creative ways that these fruits can be incorporated into your diet.

  1. Brighten up your salad. Mandarin oranges make a great addition to your salad. Pair with arugula, almonds and dried cranberries – or your own favorite salad blend. If you don’t have greens on hand, consider making a citrus salad by mixing peeled and wedged navel oranges and grapefruits with lemon juice and slightly sweetening with honey.
  2. Flavor your fish. You may be used to using lemon wedges when cooking seafood, but citrus fruits in general pair great with fish. For something different, try using the grapefruit salsa recipe listed below on top of salmon, or baking your favorite filet with slices of oranges.
  3. Drink it up. Make fresh squeezed juices from your favorite citrus fruits. Also consider adding other fruits and vegetables, such as a tangerine, apple and carrot juice, for a refreshing pick me up.  If you’re in a hurry, add a burst of flavor to your water by squeezing in fresh citrus.
  4. Make a salsa. What better way to get a taste of summer in the middle of winter? Chop up grapefruit with minced onion, bell peppers and jalapenos with a bit of fresh cilantro or mint for a delicious topping you can use on meats, fish or even just enjoy on its own.

Citrus fruits can be prepared in so many different ways – be creative and add a little zest to your winter!

Rutu Shah is student in the University of Vermont Master of Science in Dietetics program. She is completing her clinical practicum in Nutrition Services at the University of Vermont Medical Center.

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