When the winter days approaching are cold, miserable and a thoroughly drab affair, they say a hearty meal can warm the heart. Despite the temptation to overindulge over the festive period and let fitness regimes go, there really is no excuse to throw away all your healthy habits just because it has got dark and cold outside. Here is our healthy eating Winter nutrition guide to ensure you enter January in top (well, respectable) shape:
Winter Nutrition Guide
- Eat high-quality carbs
With fewer hours of sunlight during the Winter period, stored levels of serotonin – the mood balancing chemical – will begin to decline. Due to a lack of natural sunlight, your body needs good quality carbs – look no further than the mood-boosting sweet potato, which is also packed full of Vitamin A. Additionally, seasonal pumpkins and winter squashes are healthy options that can really boost your meal.
- Love Seasonal Produce
Whilst lacking the exciting bursts of colour that summer produce brings, winter still offers a lot of healthy choices to sample. Pomegranates, cranberries, citrus fruits, purple grapes and orange root vegetables can be worked into meals easily, and they all pack some serious nutrition as well as flavour.
- Eat to fight flu bugs
No diet remedy has been proved to be effective at preventing the common cold and flu. However, studies have shown that taking Vitamin C supplements may make your cold milder and shorten it by half a day. Also, a study has shown that probiotics (those found in yoghurt) may shorten your cold by almost two days.
Need some cooking inspiration? Here are two recipe’s we have cooked up and recommend:
Roast your vegetables in honey before blitzing into this velvety smooth, spiced soup – served with garlicky, zesty ciabatta slices for dipping.
- 500g sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and diced
- 1 tbsp clear honey
- 1 tbsp olive oil, plus a drizzle
- 2 onions, roughly chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1l vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp grated nutmeg
- 100ml double cream
- Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Put the sweet potato and butternut squash on a baking tray and add the honey and a drizzle of olive oil. Roast for 40-45 mins until soft and starting to caramelise at the edges, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, fry the onions in 1 tbsp olive oil until soft, then add the garlic, chicken stock, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 5 mins.
- Remove the sweet potatoes and butternut squash from the oven and add to the pan with the stock. Blend everything until smooth using a stick blender. Stir in most of the cream and bring back to a gentle simmer, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Citrus Fruit Compote
- 1 lemon
- 1 orange or tangerine
- 1 lime
- 1 cup cranberries
- 1 cup black grapes
- 1 grapefruit
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 large pears, cored and sliced
- 2 medium papayas, seeded, peeled and cubed
Halve the lemon, orange and lime and squeeze out all of the juice. Combine juice and sugar in a small saucepan. Add half of the citrus fruit and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Combine pears, cranberries and grapes in a large bowl. Pour hot syrup over fruit and stir to mix. Cover and chill up to 4 hours.
So remember, when the drinks are flowing and the food is piling up, a healthy kick will ensure optimum defence for those nasty bugs flying around and help lead nicely into a healthier new year.