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  • Hanna Watson

Tips on How to Make Healthy Winter Meals at Home

What’s not to love about winter cooking? Nothing beats a hot bowl of soup, a hearty stew or a steaming curry on a cold winters night. These meals are often very economical, can easily be made in bulk, frozen and reheated with ease to make weekday meals quick, stress free and healthy.

Here are some tips on how to enjoy preparing healthy meals this winter:

Focus on locally grown and seasonal vegetables and fruits:

When you’re eating foods in season, you’re eating the freshest and most nutritious produce. Another positive is that these items are usually cheaper than the not in-season goodies (such as berries in winter) therefore you’re getting more bang for your buck. Pay a visit to your local farmer's market - you'll find the freshest in-season produce there.

Here’s a list of some in-season winter vegetables and fruits:

· Cauliflower

· Broccoli

· Brussels Sprouts

· Carrots

· Fennel

· Mushrooms

· Potatoes

· Silver beet

· Spinach

· Kiwi Fruit

· Citrus: mandarins, oranges (navel), lemons and limes

· Grapefruit

Interestingly, the fruits and vegetables in season during winter are known to contain some of the highest levels of vitamin C. Could this be Mother Nature’s way of boosting and supporting our immunity during the cooler months? Gosh she’s clever.

Include foods rich in vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins C & D and zinc:

These vitamins and minerals are renowned for their immune supporting properties and should feature in your daily diet.

Sources of Zinc: oysters, red meat (preferably grass fed & organic), eggs, milk, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, cashews, seafood and wholegrains.

Sources of Vitamin C: red capsicum, brussels sprouts, citrus (oranges, lemons), kiwi fruit, papayas, cabbage, broccoli, strawberries, guavas, spinach.

Sources Vitamin D: fish (salmon, tuna, herrings, sardines, mackerel), eggs, fortified soy milk, fortified milk, cod liver oil.

Don’t forget about garlic and ginger! These beauties are loved by nutritionists for their antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Add these liberally to your winter cooking.

Soups, stews, bolognese, curries and roasts!

These are my go to meals in the cooler months. As previously mentioned, double or even triple the quantity and freeze for later!

Regarding curries, I like to freeze the curry sauce with choice of protein without the vegetables as I find it changes the texture of the vegetables when re-heated (cooked onion is okay). A tip is to add your fresh broccoli, pumpkin, carrots, leafy greens such as kale, spinach or bok choy, capsicum and fresh herbs to the dish as you're heating it on the stove.

A family and client favourite is my chickpea, potato and spinach curry which is also 100% plant based/vegan: Click here for the recipe

When roasting a chicken for example, roast two! And roast a large tray of your favourite vegetables (potato, zucchini, onion, capsicum, carrot, pumpkin) whilst at it. You'll have dinner or lunch for the next day and/or can use the leftover chook in a delicious chicken fried rice (using leftover rice!) or even in your salads.

Let’s focus on everyone’s favourite (or my favourite)…chicken soup! This is a seriously nourishing and comforting winter classic with immune boosting properties that can ease the symptoms associated with the common cold. Check out my slow-cooker version by clicking here:

Soups in general are healthy, hydrating and nourishing and great for breakfast, lunch or dinner throughout winter. You can load them with your choice of vegetables, ginger, garlic and proteins (chicken, lamb, beef, chickpeas, beans, lentils). For lighter options, go easy on the cream or coconut milk/cream and instead blend them up for a creamier consistency (think pumpkin, carrot and ginger, potato and leek, or cauliflower and broccoli).

Given that it's winter, it's even more important to revisit the fundamentals of good nutrition to keep our immune system fighting strong. Eat your wholefoods, consume at least 5 serves of vegetables per day, focus on the good fats (extra virgin olive oil, essential fatty acids found in oily fish, walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds - called essential as they must be obtained from the diet) and to greatly reduce or eliminate processed foods, junk, sugar, soft drinks, fruit juices, trans fats (hydrogenated fats) and artificial chemicals and sweeteners from your diet.

Confused about what to eat over winter or how to support your immunity with nutrition?

You can book a nutritional medicine consultation here:

I'd be delighted to assist you.

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