February Seasonal Eating Guide

Monthly dining tips curated by the Vizer team to help you live, eat and shop healthfully.


One of the most actionable ways to promote community-wide health is adopting a seasonal eating routine.

Although a buzzy-word, the concept of eating locally grown, recently harvested produce dates back through all of human agricultural history. Before you could shop for all of your ingredients at a local grocery store 365 days a year, societies relied on what food was environmentally available to meet nutritional needs.

Not only is eating what's in season shown to increase the nutrient density of your diet, but it also supports local food systems and ecological farming practices!

A good example of local food sourcing at work is the relationship between local farmers and charitable food distributors. Through food system partnerships, Food Banks across the country are able to source surplus nutrient-dense produce for populations in need.

This farm-to-table distribution approach increases the health profile of the foods served, while also minimizing the need for long-distance transport.

Check out our recommendations for your February Seasonal Shopping List!


Arugula

Arugula is a peppery leafy green that provides many of the same health benefits as other cruciferous vegetables. It has a high nutrient content and makes an excellent and healthful addition to most diets.

According to the United States Department for Agriculture (USDA) nutrient database, a cup of arugula weighing about 20 grams (g) contains approximately 5 calories.

A cup of arugula also contains:

  • 0.516 g of protein

  • 0.132 g of fat

According to an adult’s daily nutritional goals, set out in the FDA’s daily values (DV), a cup of arugula will provide:

  • 27.7% of vitamin K

  • 3.2% of calcium

  • 2.5% of vitamin C

Arugula also contains some iron, folate, magnesium, potassium, and provitamin A.

People commonly add fresh arugula to salads, but it also works well incorporated into pasta, casseroles, and sauces, just like other leafy greens.

It tends to sauté faster than its tougher cousins kale and collard greens. Because of its tenderness, and it lends more flavor to a dish than spinach or Swiss chard.

Due to its peppery flavor, people often mix arugula with other milder greens, such as watercress and romaine. In Italy, it is common to top pizza with arugula after baking.



Grapefruit

Grapefruit is a citrus fruit with a flavor that can range from bittersweet to sour. It contains a range of essential vitamins and minerals. People can consume the fruit whole or as a juice or pulp. Grapefruit is low in calories but very rich in nutrients. It is also an excellent source of vitamins A and C.

There are various ways to add grapefruit to the diet. To incorporate it in the diet:

  • Add some grapefruit slices to a salad at lunch or dinner and sprinkle with walnuts or pecans, crumbled cheese, and a dash of light balsamic vinegar.

  • Serve half a grapefruit at breakfast or as a starter.

  • Squeeze grapefruit juice for a refreshing drink. If the fruit is sour, combine it with orange juice.

  • Add grapefruit to a fruit salad with strawberries, pineapple, mandarin oranges, and grapes.

Here are some other healthful recipes ideas:

Radishes

The radish is an edible root vegetable of the family Brassicaceae that was domesticated in Asia prior to Roman times. Radishes are grown and consumed throughout the world, being mostly eaten raw as a crunchy salad vegetable with a pungent flavor.

Radishes are a good source of vitamins C, folate, and riboflavin (vitamin B2). They contain minerals such as calcium, potassium (which helps to regulate blood pressure), and manganese (involved in the regulation of brain and nerve function).

Try this yummy Garlic Roasted Radishes recipe!



Kale

Kale is a green, leafy, cruciferous vegetable that is rich in nutrients. It may offer a range of health benefits for the whole body.

Kale contains fiber, antioxidants, calcium, vitamins C and K, iron, and a wide range of other nutrients that can help prevent various health problems. Antioxidants help the body remove unwanted toxins that result from natural processes and environmental pressures.


Take a look at this Sautéed Kale Recipe!

Papaya

Papayas grow in tropical climates and are also known as papaws or pawpaws. Their sweet taste, vibrant color, and the wide variety of health benefits they provide make them a popular fruit.

Papaya is a soft, versatile fruit. This means it can be incorporated into many recipes.


Consider the following simple methods of preparation:

  • Make a tropical fruit salad with fresh papaya, pineapple, and mango.

  • Muddle papaya into a glass of lemonade, iced tea, or water for a burst of fresh fruity flavor.

  • Make a fresh salsa with papaya, mango, jalapeño, red peppers, and chipotle pepper. Use as a topping for fish tacos.

  • Add a few slices of frozen papaya to smoothies. Combine with pineapple juice, half a frozen banana, and Greek yogurt for a sweet tropical treat.


Follow along monthly for updated seasonal eating tips and recipe suggestions. If you make your own recipes from these suggestions, tag #vizerexplore and @vizerapp on social so we can share your creations!