While the cooler months may well and truly beckon us to eat comfort foods, you can achieve Winter Wellness and here are some suggestions to ensure that those indulgences can also provide health benefits.
1. Slow cook
Need permission to enjoy a lamb shank? Granted! Slow-cooked meats are easier to digest and are a great way to obtain iron-rich bone marrow from certain cuts with bone, as well as collagen. Look past red meat, and you will find many slow-cooked recipes allow for a healthier way to cook food and achieve Winter Wellness
Pro tip: A nourishing immune-boosting chicken soup works well when slow-cooked to help develop flavour and maximise extraction of nutrients from bones
2. Spice it up
Curries are a great way to boost the anti-inflammatory properties of a meal by using a range of spices. Spices are high in antioxidants and may help to offset oxidation of fats as well as preserve foods meaning those leftovers will keep and taste even better the next day.
Pro tip: If you are a little sensitive to spice, herbs have as many equally amazing antioxidant properties and of course are versatile across a range of cuisines
3. Start a new healthy ritual
Creating new healthy habits can be a game-changer. Make a point of starting a new ritual – it could be keeping soups on rotation, adding lemon juice to warm water before meals or if you are having a warm breakfast including extra vegetables. It will be second nature in no time, and your diet and health will be better for it
Pro tip: Keep it simple and sustainable, easy to prep and something you will enjoy
4. Replace a cup of tea
Of course, black and green tea have antioxidant properties, but since they are caffeinated are more likely to contribute to dehydration and may impact liver function, adrenal health and sleep. If you are reaching for an extra cup of tea or opting for it a little later in the day, take a look at the many options and get creative. Miso soup, bone broth, vegetable broth, herbal teas, rooibos tea, powdered lattes (beetroot, broccoli, lavender, turmeric) or a healthy hot chocolate are all possible choices depending on whether you want savoury or sweet
Pro tip: If you must sweeten a beverage, opt for raw honey and add it to the drink as it is already cooling to help retain the beneficial enzymes which can be destroyed by heat
5. Eat mainly Warm foods and keep it Fresh rather than Raw
Move over salad. Winter is coming! Of course, if you want to eat a salad, there’s no argument. The main thing is to you can still keep it fresh – opt for rocket or baby spinach and just let it wilt by placing it in the bottom of the bowl and spoon dishes like gluten-free pasta or risotto on top. Another way to freshen up a dish is to top dishes with freshly chopped herbs. Parsley is a great option for a range of culinary styles, or if you are planning Asian, Indian or Mexican cuisines opt for coriander. Warm/cooked foods are also better for digestion. Smoothies might still be consumed but try to defrost frozen fruit or opt for room temperature fruit
Pro tip: Make a pesto with any herbs, baby spinach or rocket if anything looks like its beginning to wilt to avoid food waste
6. Love your Legumes
Yes, they count as a serve of vegetables! Homemade beans for breakfast, falafels with lunch, hummus for a snack, bulking out meat dishes with beans – lots of variety can be achieved, and Meatless Mondays can make a comeback!
Pro tip: combining legumes with rice makes for a complete protein
7. Powder Power
6-8 serves of vegetables per day can seem impossible at times, so this Winter we’re adding medicinal mushroom powders to our hot chocolates, sipping on beetroot lattes and boosting our baked goods with powdered vegetables. We might even try a Broccoli latte and report back!
Pro tip: see if you can sample new products at a health food cafe first before investing money in a new or novelty product
Winter Wholefoods = Winter Wellness
Winter is a wonderful time to feel nourished by a healthy diet. We are all about Food as Medicine at Brisbane Livewell Clinics and are happy to talk about all things food any time you need tailored dietary advice, a meal plan or some inspiration. Keeping the diet in check in the cooler months helps to ensure a sense of wellbeing whether it is to manage current health concerns or as a preventative strategy, ’tis the season to be healthy!