Nutritional Benefits of Five Wintertime Foods PLUS Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Danielle Moyer
Danielle Male, MS, CNS, LDN

During winter, there’s something about slipping into cozy sweaters and enjoying hearty comfort foods that feels just right. It’s a season that encourages us to embrace the holidays and appreciate life’s simple pleasures.

From the zingy kick of cranberries to the comfort of pumpkin-based dishes, these seasonal flavors help to kick off the winter season.

Join Danielle Male, one of our Nutrition Consultant instructors on Wednesday, December 13 for a live webinar to learn more about the nutritional benefits of her favorite seasonal-winter foods.

Some of My Favorite Seasonal-Winter Foods:

  1. Cranberries: Cranberries contain a high level of proanthocyanins, plant compounds known to promote immune health, defend against potentially undesirable organisms, and lower inflammation in the body. Proanthocyanins have been shown to promote heart health, too. 
  2. Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes: Potatoes and sweet potatoes contain numerous essential nutrients, including vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin B6. Other benefits are that they are filling and contain soluble and insoluble fiber, which can promote gut health. What you put on the potato can also add more nutritional benefits! For example, you can add spices like cinnamon, rosemary, or thyme, containing anti-inflammatory plant compounds and antioxidants, or health-promoting fats like extra-virgin olive oil.
  3. Green Beans: Green beans, also known as snap beans or string beans, have many essential nutrients, including vitamin K and folate (a B vitamin). Like any vegetable, they also contain an array of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, and beneficial plant compounds, such as chlorophyll. Chlorophyll gives many vegetables their green color and works as an antioxidant in the body.  
  4. Ginger: I think of ginger cookies when I think of winter. While you may want to eat dessert in moderation during the holiday season, ginger cookies may be a good option as they have nutritional and health benefits. Ginger cookies can be lower in sugar compared to more common sugary cookies, and they contain many essential nutrients, such as iron, manganese, folate, calcium, and vitamin K. Ginger cookies also introduce other health-promoting spices to your palettes, such as cinnamon and nutmeg. Ginger alone (an essential ingredient of ginger cookies) can help with digestion, the immune system, and heart health. Ginger has also been shown to help with occasional nausea. Ginger contains antioxidants that can also help to lower inflammation, which helps support overall health.
  5. Winter Squash: Winter squash, like butternut squash for example, contains compounds called carotenoids, which give them their rich orange and yellow colors. Carotenoids promote the immune system and may convert into vitamin A in the body, which is critical for eye health, immune function, and growth. Winter squash is also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, and dietary fiber.  

My favorite part about winter squash is how versatile the options are. For instance, butternut squash is incredibly easy to turn into a nutrient-dense, filling, delicious soup!

Below is a recipe called “Curried Butternut Squash Soup” by Minimalist Baker. It is a vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free recipe. It features shallots and garlic, which support liver detoxication and the health of our gut microbiome. It also contains curry powder, which has many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Lastly, one serving of this soup provides 12.4 g of fiber to help boost satiation, gut health, and more!

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

By Minimalist Baker

Curried Butternut Squash Soup



  • 1 Tbsp coconut or avocado oil
  • 2 medium shallots (thinly diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 cloves yield ~1 Tbsp or 6 g)
  • 6 cups peeled & chopped butternut squash (1 small butternut squash yields ~6 cups)
  • 1 pinch each sea salt + black pepper (plus more to taste)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (DIY or store-bought)
  • 1-3 Tbsp maple syrup (or sub coconut sugar)
  • 1-2 tsp chili garlic paste (optional)

FOR SERVING (optional)

  • Toasted pumpkin seeds
  • Chili garlic paste
  • Full-fat coconut milk


  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Once hot, add oil, shallots, and garlic. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add butternut squash and season with salt, pepper, curry powder, and ground cinnamon. Stir to coat. Then cover and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add coconut milk, vegetable broth, maple syrup or coconut sugar, and chili garlic paste (optional – for heat).
  5. Bring to a low boil over medium heat and then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until butternut squash is fork tender.
  6. Use an immersion blender, or transfer soup to a blender, and purée on high until creamy and smooth. If using a blender, return soup back to pot.
  7. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more curry powder, salt, or sweetener as needed. Continue cooking for a few more minutes over medium heat.
  8. Serve as is or with garnishes of choice (options above). Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer up to 1 month. Best when fresh.

Recipe Source: Baker, M. (n.d.). Curried Butternut Squash Soup. Minimalist Baker

Have Work You Love

Get the details on how to become a Holistic Chef or Nutrition Consultant through Bauman College’s ONLINE programs! Contact us to connect with an Admissions Representative today.