Winter is a time for hearty grub that warms and comforts us (as I await my slow cooked beef stew with carrots, onions and parsnips) but it’s also a time we often eat less fruit and veg. The lonesome sprout is banished after Christmas and we seem to forget and bypass what’s on offer. Partly because we fill up on starchy, fatty foods first as our primitive, hoarding instincts kick in and we forget what’s seasonal and actually the best stuff to go for.
We are told to aim for 5-a day yet we often choose fruit over veg. I always recommend to go for 3 veg and 2 fruit each day to help keep the sugar levels within limits. Oh and starchy veg like potatoes don’t count 😉
Making every time we eat a challenge and an opportunity for creativity, we can look to incorporate more veg into the mix, even if it is not a full serving.
What are the benefits of this?
- Going for a ‘veggie first’ approach means we are less likely to load the plate with more calorific and energy dense foods.
- The nutrient value of your meal goes up! No doubt you’ll get an extra boost of protective antioxidants, energy boosting B vitamins and fibre to name a few. If you’re feeling tired or a bit run down, these can help refil the necessary reserves to build yourself back up again.
- Seasonal veg is more likely to be fresh and richer in vitamins and minerals! You might be fortunate to shop at a local farmers market or have a local farm down the road that sells their own produce fresh from the ground but most of us treck to the giant supermarkets for our weekly shop. We now demand seasonal foods all year round, so we can have strawberries and asparagus 365 days of the year. Have you ever noticed how far your food has traveled? If your green beans and blueberries are coming over from China or New Zealand, the likelihood is they ain’t as nutritious as we think they are, never mind the carbon food print that has been stamped by the global efforts to get them from field to fork.
This is a list of foods that grow NATURALLY in the UK in the winter months and are at their best. Whether you aim to be more adventurous with your meals or need covert operation veggie to get the kids to eat anything other than baked beans, have a go at introducing a new / different one each week.
- Broccoli (the young tender stem is amazing right now!)
- Brussel Sprouts
Why not check out this seasonable food table from BBC Good food to keep up to speed with the best pickings 🙂