Key Nutrients for Winter

In winter, it's just as important to consume Vitamin D and Vitamin C as it is to keep up physical activity. However, intakes of these micronutrients tend to decline in winter due to limited sunshine (for Vitamin D production) and limited access to fresh fruits (which contain Vitamin C). Eating properly will not only meet the required intakes, but will also improve your mood, protect you from certain cancers, and boost your energy.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, required for the creation of collagen, which is an important structural component of blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and bone, and is also helpful in supporting the immune system. But unlike other animals, humans do not have the ability to make their own Vitamin C. Therefore, we must obtain it through diet. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for males is 90mg and 75mg for females. All citrus fruits are good sources, as are strawberries and whole-fruit juices. One cup of orange juice has 83mg of Vitamin C. Red peppers and broccoli are good sources, too.

Vitamin D occurs naturally in only a few foods, but this micronutrient is one of the most important to the body. It regulates bone growth and bone density, is important for immune function, aids in cell differentiation and insulin regulation, and also regulates blood pressure. Vitamin D is made in the skin when it reacts to UVB rays from the sun. During the winter, Montana can go a long time without seeing the sun; therefore, this is a crucial time to get Vitamin D from food. The RDA for Vitamin D for both males and females is 2,000 international units (IUs) a day. Certain types of fish, milk and dairy products, and fortified foods such as orange juice and some cereals are great sources. A four-ounce serving of cooked trout will provide 1050 IU’s of Vitamin D. Not bad for a day’s catch on the river.

Alicia Baker has her BS in Food and Nutrition from MSU, loves to get outdoors and snowshoe, and teaches salsa dancing.

Montana Macadamia Trout

6 trout filets
1 cup macadamia nuts, finely chopped
¾ cup fine breadcrumbs
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. paprika
3 eggs, lightly beaten

Wash and pat dry trout. Combine nuts and breadcrumbs. Dredge trout filets in flour mixed with paprika, dip fish in beaten eggs, then coat with nut mixture and chill for at least 1/2 hour in plastic wrap. Preheat oven to 425°F and bake in an ungreased baking pan (the oil content in the nuts is sufficient to keep the fish from sticking) until coating is crispy and fish is flaky (about 15 minutes).