Thursday, 28 October 2010

Eating with the seasons

We are now firmly in autumn/winter and as usual I've totally lost my taste for healthy salads and am craving more hot food and drinks and eating more meat in particular.

Changing our eating patterns with the seasons makes sense - the changes in our environment change our nutritional requirements and how our bodies react to food. In the colder months food needs to be warming and easy to digest .. hence favouring hot food and a higher protein intake as protein is slow to digest and holds it's heat the longest keeping you warm from within.

The body will also naturally store more fat to keep you warm so there's nothing to fret about if you gain a couple of pounds, these should come off naturally in the spring.

Another reason to change your food with the seasons is that the nutritional content of food varies with the seasons as does the flavour. A tasty ripe in season tomato is a million miles away in taste and pleasure from a watery unripe one. Eating your fruit and veg in season will mean a higher nutrient intake and more enjoyment making you more likely to eat more fruit and veg.

The best fruit and veg for this time of year are:
Apples, plums & pears: I like to lightly stew them with some cinnamon and serve with natural yoghurt topped with chopped hazelnuts. EAT currently has a nice seasonal fruit salad with all these plus pomegranate which is also in season.

Figs: a lovely addition to an orchard fruit salad or bake and serve topped with melted dark chocolate

Squash: easy to roast either on its own or with other root veg to go with your Sunday roast

Mushrooms & Leeks: both lovely in soup or risotto, or just wilted down in a pan with a lid

Cabbage & Celariac: I'm not a big fan of cabbage but grated celariac makes a great substitute for cabbage in coleslaw and is also lovely boiled and mashed with apple.

Lamb's lettuce, watercress & spinach - ditch the iceberg and eat darker green salad leaves in the winter months.


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