Here we are in Winter again, rugging up and turning to warm and cozy food to give us both physical and emotional comfort. Inevitably, the changing of the seasons is a time where we might give our cooking and meal planning a bit of a change-up, and start taking advantage of all the gorgeous winter produce on offer.
Seeking comfort food in winter:
To many, winter speaks of big steaming bowls of veggie soup, slow cooked stews, roasts, curries and delicious, rustic shepherds pie, cottage pie and chicken and leek pie made with the leftovers – these can be a great vehicle for seasonal veggies like green leafies, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.
We Feed You Beef Cottage Pie
Comforting, delicious and simple could be a big home-made batch of baked beans or a spinach and ricotta lasagna (guaranteed to keep even the fussiest family members happy). We might forget about salads for a bit, preferring ‘one pot wonders’ where the veggies are cooked in, or simple roast meats with comforting mashed potatoes, peas and gravy. Maybe we’re craving apple pie or sticky date pudding?
Is this okay? Is our health going to go to pot with more rich or stodgey meals?
The short answer is no I promise you it’s not!
It’s human nature, and makes complete sense that we seek comfort in food, when the sunlight is more scarce, nights are chilly and our social lives become a little less adventurous in winter. Revisiting our favourite warming and nostalgic winter foods with friends and family is a wholesome and really healthy way to find connectedness and help counter the winter blues.
When we are down for the count with winter coughs and colds, how good is a hearty, home-made chicken noodle soup? And when someone else makes it for you, it can feel like a warm hug with special healing powers.
Looking to the seasons for health
Let’s get enthused about warming flavours like ginger, turmeric and paprika – that are not just comforting but can actually provide an antioxidant and immune boost during cough and colds season. Roast dishes with rosemary and oregano make for some dreamy kitchen aromas, as well as contributing extra nutrients. And balance out the stodge with vitamin and fibre packed seasonal greens like kale, silverbeet and spinach.
My tip when it comes to keeping healthy is not to over-think it, but to make sure you’re including lots of plant foods in the mix – using seasonal produce that is at it’s best (both nutritionally and flavour-wise).
Of course all fruits and vegetables are good for us, but the science shows that eating a wide variety of colours and varieties (at least 5 veggies and 2 fruits serves each day) is even better.
Seasonal fruits and vegetables can feed our good gut bugs and protect us against winter germs. And guess what? When we eat these foods in season, they have even greater nutrient density and protective potential. If you’re currently stuck in a bit of a winter cooking slump – check out some winter warming We Feed You meals packed with seasonal veggies for true help or even inspiration. This includes:
- Tamarind Eggplant Curry
- Chicken and Green Vegetables
- Lemon and Ginger Chicken packed with Kale
- Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry
- Roasted Sweet Potato & Cauliflower w/ Fennel & Pepitas
Here’s what’s in season this winter:
Winter Fruits: Apples, bananas, custard apple, feijoa, grapefruit, kiwifruit, lemons and limes, mandarins, oranges, pears, persimmon, pineapple, quince, rhubarb, tamarillo, tangelo
Winter Vegetables: Asian greens, broad beans, beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, cucumber, eggplant, fennel, Jerusalem artichokes, kale, leek, lettuce, okra, onions, parsley, parsnips, snow peas, potatoes, rhubarb, silverbeet, spinach, spring onion, sweet potato, swede.
Herbs and spices in season: Ginger, coriander, dill, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary