During the cold and grey winter months, look to the produce department for an array of bright colors. This is the time of year for juicy, delicious citrus items that are versatile and full of vitamins. Every fruit in the citrus family contains Vitamin C, A and flavonoids, which are antioxidants that may reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol and prevent cell damage. Citrus items also contain fiber and natural sugars, making these fruits a sweet and healthy snack.
Add the following bright flavors of citrus to your cart the next time you go shopping:
- Mandarins: These small and tasty members of the tangerine family are a perfect snack. Just one of them contains 34% of your Vitamin C needs for the day. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that aids in collagen synthesis for strong muscles and blood vessels. Mandarins are great on their own for a snack, paired with yogurt or even topped on a bed of greens.
- Oranges: Oranges add a powerful nutrient punch to your diet. One orange contains over 100% of your daily Vitamin C needs and 34% of your folate requirement. Folate helps with cell synthesis and can help prevent anemia. Oranges go well in smoothies and entrées such as Asian Orange Chicken. They can also be zested to add orange flavor in breads and cookies.
- Grapefruit: A juicy red grapefruit is a fantastic way to start off the day. Half of a grapefruit contains 28% of your Vitamin A recommendation, which helps immune function and vision. Grapefruit tastes great on its own, but it’s also a tasty addition to a sorbet or salad. The juice can even be used to marinate meat for a main course.
- Limes and Lemons: These citrus fruits are a fantastic source of Vitamin C and contain thiamin, which aids in the growth and development of the cells in your body. Lemons and limes are commonly used to flavor water, but their juices can also be added to recipes such as fruit salads and sorbets. Plus, they’re delicious in homemade salad dressings and marinades.
Here is a simple salad recipe to incorporate more citrus into your diet:
Petite Lettuce and Citrus Salad
- 3 Tbsp. fresh tangerine or orange juice
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
- 1 ½ Tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 1 Tbsp. Meijer extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. True Goodness by Meijer Organic honey
- 1 ½ tsp. red wine vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- 5 oz. Earthbound Farm Organic Petites Lettuce Leaves (cut into 1-inch wide strips), or spring mix greens
- ¼ cup (packed) fresh mint leaves
- 2 oranges
- 2 tangerines (peeled and separated into segments)
- ½ cup chopped toasted pecans or hazelnuts (optional)
- To make the vinaigrette, place all of the ingredients in a small glass jar and seal tightly. Shake the jar vigorously to combine. Set aside at room temperature. The vinaigrette can be made 3 days ahead of serving and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature and shake vigorously before using.
- Place the lettuce and mint leaves in a large bowl and toss to combine. Add half of the vinaigrette and toss to coat the leaves, adding more dressing as desired.
- Arrange the greens on a platter or divide among 4 plates. Arrange some of the orange and tangerine segments on the greens and drizzle with some of the vinaigrette.
- Sprinkle with the nuts, if using, and serve immediately.
Nutrition information per serving: 208 calories, 13g fat, 23g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 2.5g protein, 1mg sodium