There is no way to sugarcoat this: January 2024 has thus far been cold, dark, wet and icy. Perhaps you started this January with lofty goals of eating healthier, moving your body more, attaining a promotion, limiting your screen usage, reading more books, whatever. Perhaps you also looked outside at the gray nothing sky and thought: "meh." Who can fault you? It's been a chilly, mean month and there are some more weeks of winter to come. But do not despair, because even if you have set your goals aside in favor of just getting through, there is a way to incorporate simple, healthy eating into your comforting rituals.

Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake in the next few weeks of winter has the power to benefit your immunity, mood and digestion. If you pick the right fruits and veggies, you may also see a lower grocery bill. You needn't eat like a bird or deprive yourself in order to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in your diet. Read on for some fruit and veggie-heavy recipes that increase your nutritional intake but leave you feeling comforted and cozy.


The morning is a natural time for fruits and vegetables. You can top yogurt, oatmeal or cottage cheese with fruits, blend up some veggie-packed smoothies or throw some vegetables into an egg scramble.

Cottage Cheese Breakfast Bowl (adapted from The Almond Eater)

½ cup of cottage cheese

¼ cup cucumber slices

¼ cup grape tomatoes, halved

½ an avocado, sliced


Simply top cottage cheese with veggies to your taste. Other savory and tasty toppings include chives, sliced green onions, some "everything" bagel seasoning and a swirl of olive oil.


For midday, ease is the name of the game. Whether you prepare your lunches ahead of time or to-order, this meal can easily be made to incorporate fruits and vegetables. A couple quick options are rainbow veggie sandwiches or broccoli crunch salad.

Best Broccoli Salad Recipe (adapted from Love and Lemons)

1 pound broccoli crowns, cut into bite-sized pieces

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons mayonnaise or vegan mayo

1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 garlic clove, minced

cup diced red onions or shallots

cup dried cranberries

Sea salt, to taste


Chop the broccoli florets into bite-sized pieces and any remaining stems into ¼-inch dice. In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, mayo, apple cider vinegar, garlic and salt. Add the broccoli, shallots or onions and cranberries and toss to coat. Pepitas, shaved almonds or avocado all work as add-ins for this crunchy salad.

Rainbow Vegetable Sandwich (adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod)

2 slices of bread

2 tablespoons (or more) of a savory cream cheese spread like Boursin or Philadelphia

¼ cup arugula or greens

6 cucumber slices

¼ cup sprouts of your choice

½ avocado, sliced

Some of all of the following: Bell pepper strips, shredded carrots, tomato slices, radish slices, finely chopped purple cabbage


Spread the cream cheese on each slice of bread, layer your vegetables on top. Gently press your sandwich together once you are finished layering. This will be a mighty sandwich, so grab a napkin.


Vegetables on the side for dinner are a tale as old as time. Whether you are incorporating vegetables as a side dish or showcasing them as a main course, the options are endless.

Roasted Vegetables, from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Chop your chosen vegetables into uniform pieces. Smaller pieces cook faster.

Place your chopped vegetables on a sheet pan. Be careful not to crowd as this steams rather than roasts your veggies.

Toss with olive oil, but not too much. Bittman recommends 3 tablespoons of oil per 2 pounds of vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and/or spices of your choice.

Roast until veggies are fork-tender, with some browned or crispy spots evident.

Spiced Cauliflower Soup (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds

¼ teaspoon whole fennel seeds

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

1 medium potato, peeled and chopped

2 teaspoons peeled and chopped ginger

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 fresh hot green chili, or 1 jalapeno (more or less to taste)

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

¼ teaspoon red chili pepper or cayenne (again, more or less to your taste)

About 3.5 cups chopped cauliflower florets

1 ½ cups canned chopped or crushed tomatoes

Salt and pepper, to taste


Heat oil in the bottom of a 4 to 5-quart pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the cumin seeds and a few seconds later, the fennel seeds. Pause and then add the onions and potatoes. Stir and sauté for five minutes. Add the ginger, garlic and green chiles and stir for one minute more.

Turn the heat to medium-low and add the ground coriander, cumin, turmeric and red pepper. Stir for one minute. Add the cauliflower, tomatoes and salt and stir for one minute. Add three cups of water, stir, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, lower the heat again and simmer gently for 25 minutes. If the soup seems a little thick, add up to one cup more water, as needed.

Let the soup cool slightly, then use an immersion blender to blend it to your desired texture (or don't blend at all). Taste for salt and pepper and adjust as needed. Ladle into bowls and top with a dollop of yogurt or tiny swirl heavy cream. Other add-ons are lime juice, cooked rice, cilantro or pita wedges – chef's choice!

Pamela Savage is a freelance writer living and cooking for her family in Springfield. She tries to eat her veggies, but the pizza delivery van visits often.

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