As the nights draw in and the clocks go back you may find that your body starts to require more from your food. Those wonderful light salads from the summer are somehow not quite enough to keep you topped up when it is cold.
I think that the old saying of a balanced diet rings so true through the winter months. Your body really requires the right food fuel in the winter, so I think a good combination of whole grain carbohydrates, combined with healthy proteins such as fish, chicken and pulses, served with plenty of vegetables for a good source of antioxidant rich nutrients, to help support the immune system - a simple but healthy way of eating through the chillier months.
- Try a warming soup for lunch; so easy to make and very cost effective. There are plenty of delicious fresh and tinned soups available in all of the leading supermarkets, perfect if you are looking for a quick winter warmer.
- I love one pot dishes for dinner. You can add vegetables, lentils, meat, herbs and some stock to a lidded oven proof dish, pop it into the oven and you are good to go.
- Using a slow cooker is also a great way for family cooking, cheap and very easy to do - and ready when you come home from work or a day out.
- Try out this fab idea emailed into us by Del Monte juice drinker, Victoria Christenssen, warming up Del Monte Naturally Light Super Fruits and adding some mulled spices and a touch of port for some festive spirit!
- Make use of food cupboard staples such as whole grain pasta, pearl barley, brown rice, borlotti beans and quinoa. They are all high in fibre, nutrient dense and slow releasing, they are great to bulk out a casserole or soup.
- Including dark leafy greens in your everyday diet will help to add fibre and important vitamins and minerals. My favourite are nutritious super greens; kale, broccoli and spinach.
- Start your day with a glass of Del Monte Orange Juice which will help keep your vitamin C levels topped up.
- In the winter months porridge is my staple breakfast as it’s so warming, filling and nutritious. Add cinnamon, a grating of nutmeg and drizzle of honey for extra taste and goodness. Other breakfasts that are delicious and easy to make are omelettes with chopped red pepper and lean ham or thinly sliced apple with a cinnamon dip (Greek yogurt and cinnamon). For something different I love Gizzi Erskine avocado on toast, it is actually quite delicious.
The following is a very simple, nutritious soup that is packed full of flavour and nutrient rich ingredients. You could swap the chorizo for mushrooms to make a delicious vegetarian option.
Lentil and chorizo soup
1 stick of celery
1 clove of garlic
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
250ml of vegetable stock
45g of chorizo or 77g pack of pancetta
140g puy lentils
1 bay leaf
1 red pepper
1 tbsp chives
dash of vegetable oil
pinch of salt and pepper
- Finely chop the onion, celery, garlic, pepper and chives. Add the oil to a saucepan and then add the veg, gently sauté for 5 minutes on a medium heat.
- Chop the chorizo into small chunks and add them to the pan and combine with the veg.
- Stir in the lentils and give everything a good mix.
- Add the tomatoes and stock and bay leaf. Stir and then let the soup come to a gentle simmer and leave for 30 minutes.
- Check for seasoning just before you serve.