Why do people struggle to eat well during winter?
Many people find that eating well is easy during the summer – fresh fruit and vegetables are easily available, smoothies are a great way to cool down, and salads are the perfect fit for warm days. However, in the winter we often find ourselves cravings comfort foods during the colder days.
It can be so tempting to turn to takeaways and ready meals when it's cold and miserable outside, but this won't be doing your immune system any favours!
What nutrients do we need during winter?
During the winter our demand for a number of vitamins, minerals and nutrients sky rockets. This includes:
- Vitamin C for immune function. Found in brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, as well as leafy greens
- Zinc for immune function. Found in nuts, seeds and oysters
- Complex carbohydrates for slow-releasing energy. Found in oats, wholewheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa and potatoes
- Healthy protein to build immune cells and keep the body strong. Found in nuts, seeds, beans, pulses and tofu.
Porridge with tasty toppings
Warm, comforting porridge is a great way to start your day! The oats provide a source of slow-releasing energy, whilst a handful of fruit (raspberries are my favourite) will provide vitamins and antioxidants, as well as one portion of your 5 a day. Adding a spoon of nut butter increases the protein content of your meal, and also provides vital minerals like zinc. I usually sprinkle some chia seeds on top for extra nutrients and a little crunch, and a dusting of cinnamon for that wintery taste.
Ingredients: oats, almond milk, blueberries, banana, cinnamon, almond butter, chia seeds, agave syrup
Alternative ingredient ideas: raspberries, stewed pear, pumpkin seed butter, nuts, dark chocolate, honey
Broccoli, Kale & Sweet Potato Soup with Fitness Mix Sprouts
This delicious soup is so nutritious! Broccoli is a fantastic source of vitamin C, whilst kale is a well-known nutrient powerhouse. Sprouts are also packed full of nutrients, protein and antioxidants. Pair this with a slice of wholemeal, seeded bread for some extra complex carbohydrates to keep you fuller for longer.
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Bombay Potato and Leek Soup
A tasty twist on a classic, this soup is nutritious and delicious, and the spices are also great for circulation! The warm, soft potatoes should satisfy your cravings for comfort food as well.
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Stews, curries and chilli are great meals during winter – they’re warm, comforting and packed full of nutrients. You can add as many veggies as you like, so it’s an easy way to meet your 5 a day.
Spicy bean hot pot
Packed full of protein-rich beans that are sure to keep you full for longer, this spicy bean hot pot is super comforting and delicious. Perfect for a night in with a good film! It’s full of tasty veggies too, including leeks, parsnip, celery and carrots, so it’s sure to help you meet your 5 a day.
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We’ve got a great recipe for a cauliflower curry, but why stop at one vegetable? I’d definitely recommend adding some extra vegetables, including peas, carrots, peppers and potato! Chickpeas will also add a little extra protein and complex carbohydrates.
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Vegan Burgers with Alfalfa Sprouts
This tasty burger will definitely satisfy your junk food cravings, while providing a nutritious and filling meal. Chickpeas and quinoa flour provide a great source of protein and complex carbs, whilst the alfalafa sprouts are packed full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Whatever toppings you choose – avocado, lettuce or tomato – will provide some extra nutrients.
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Dessert & Snacks
Even desserts and snacks can provide vital nutrients during the winter!
Apple, macadamia and coconut crumble. This tasty crumble provides extra vitamins from the apples, as well as some minerals and protein from the macadamia nuts. It’s low in sugar but super tasty!
Banana bread muffins with dark chocolate. This gluten free recipe uses the natural sweetness of the bananas, as well as a little maple syrup and some spices to create a delicious flavour. Best served warm!
Cinnamon & chia seed energy balls. These tasty snacks are a great way to boost energy, and they provide lots of protein and minerals too!