Feeling like you have the winter blues? It’s common for people to start feeling down during the winter months. The days are shorter and darker; it’s cold, and we spend too much time indoors. We may be exhausted and broke from the holidays. This is the time we start craving carbs and sweets which usually only make us feel better while we’re eating them and we often regret it later. Instead, we should turn to colorful foods which have the power to improve our moods.
Scientists have known for a long time that color can improve our mood – blue tends to calm us, red energizes us and yellow makes us happy. Colorful food not only looks prettier, but the phytonutrients that give fruits and veggies their color promotes health, protects against disease and can influence our moods. To learn more about the health benefits of colorful food, read Eat the Colors of the Rainbow with These Clean-Eating Recipes. So if you have the winter blues, step away from the boring brown foods. These bright and colorful dishes will help brighten your day.
1. Go Green!
Green foods that are in season during the winter include Brussels sprouts, collard greens, kale, and kiwi. Plus other green foods such as broccoli, zucchini, peas, spinach, celery, avocado, limes, artichokes, green beans and okra are available year round. Check out The Essential Guide to Greens, get these Tips for Cooking Greens and then start benefitting from delicious, healthy green foods.
You’ll be green with happiness when you eat this Risotto with Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Crunchy Fresh Broccoli Quinoa Salad, Green Pea Avocado Spread, Spinach Falafel with Tahini Dressing, Cinnamon Okra, Green Bean and Wild Rice Salad, and Hot and Bubbly Spinach Artichoke Dip. Don’t forget your dark leafy greens. These Collard Spring Rolls with Cashew Mustard have tons of color all rolled into healthy green leaves.
2. Rosy Red
These Chive Mustard Roasted Radishes give you the mood enhancing benefits of both red radishes and yellow mustard (see yellow below). This Warm Lentil and Brussels Sprout Salad With Roasted Radicchio Wedges combines healthy green Brussels sprouts with red radicchio and pomegranate. These Beet and Chickpea Falafel are so pretty while this Chocolate Beet Cake looks so good, you can forget it’s also really healthy. Who wouldn’t smile if this Red Pepper Bruschetta with Homemade Roasted Garlic Ricotta or this Tofu-Tomato Salad was set down in front of them? I sure would!
3. Happy Orange
While oranges may make us think of summer, there are lots of orange foods in season in winter. Butternut squash, clementines, Mandarin oranges, papayas, persimmons, sweet potatoes, and tangerines are all in season during winter and carrots are available year-round.
This Beetroot, Brussels Sprouts, and Bourgal Salad With Maple-Orange Dressing is filled with happy, healthy colors – green Brussels sprouts, red beets and orange dressing on top. Just thinking about these Indian Sweet Potato Fries with Parsley Cashew Dip makes me happy. This Savory Pumpkin Quiche with an Earl Gray Tea-Infused Crust is simply beautiful while this Lemon and Tangerine Cake and Poppy Seed Clementine Bundt Cake both sound incredible. Finally, this Persimmon Parfait With Hazelnut Crunch is layers of amazing taste, texture and looks beautiful.
4. Sunny Yellow
Bananas and lemon make a sunny appearance in this 5-Ingredient Lemon Cheesecake. If this Banana Cream Pie doesn’t make you happy, nothing will. This Lemony Butternut Squash Risotto combines yellow lemon with orange squash to make one delicious dish while this Lemon Panna Cotta with Raspberry Sauce is a colorful and refreshing dessert. This Creamy Corn Chowder is bright and warm at the same time. Don’t forget you can make food yellow with healthy turmeric like this Jeweled Yellow Rice with Pignoli Nuts and Golden Raisins and this Roasted Turmeric Cauliflower and Kale Salad.
5. Blissful Blue
Blue and purple foods include blueberries, blackberries, figs, currants, dates, olives, prunes, acai berries, raisins, eggplant, purple cabbage, purple carrots, and purple-fleshed potatoes.
These Fresh Blueberry Blintzes are bright and yummy while these Crispy Cornmeal Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce look like a great way to start the day. This Blueberry and Açaí Berry Cheesecake has a double dose of purple and this Superfood Blackberry Cheesecake is bound to have you grinning from ear to ear. Savory foods can be purple as well. This Ratatouille Pizza is super colorful, and this Purple and Pink Sushi can brighten up any table. Sweet potatoes come in purple as well as orange. Try them in this Cauliflower With Purple Sweet Potatoes – Ranga Alu Diye Phulkopi.
Until Spring comes and brings us back all the green leaves and pretty flowers, we can brighten up our plates with beautiful, colorful foods. Not only do they look happy but they’re healthy and make us feel better inside and out.
Lead image source: Persimmon Parfait With Hazelnut Crunch