As we say goodbye to the warm summer sun and hello to colder winter nights, it can become more difficult to access some important nutrient-rich foods due to the seasonal change. But there are plenty of ways to include flavoursome, vitamin-packed foods into your winter meal plan. Winter foods often conjure up images of “comfort foods”: warm, hearty and nurturing – often carb and kilojoule heavy. But this does not have to be the case – you can enjoy comforting winter dishes that are hearty and healthy at the same time.
A great way to get a dose of nutrients throughout winter is by preparing soups. Homemade soups are also one of the best ways to increase your intake of vegetables to help reach the recommended five serves of veggies per day. Spinach, kale, peas, leeks, cabbage and potatoes are just some of this season’s produce that can form the basis of a delicious soup. If you also include grains, such as barley, or a starchy vegetable like pumpkin or corn, and then add some lean red meat, you can easily create a filling and hearty meal.
One of the best things about soups is that you can make up a big batch and so have a couple of meals ready in the freezer or divide into individual portions for lunches that you can easily reheat at work. You can lighten things up by combining a protein such as beef or chicken with fragrant herbs and spices such as chilli and ginger.
Seasonal winter fruits, including oranges, mandarins, pears and grapefruit, offer a wonderful range of vitamins and antioxidants. Citrus fruits provide a great source of vitamin C to help boost your immune system and rich in antioxidants to reduce damage to cells caused by free radicals produced in the body. Try having a mandarin with yoghurt for a sweet treat after dinner, or snack on an orange with a handful of nuts during the day to avoid feeling hungry between main meals.