Healthy Eating in the Colder Months April 11 2016

Winter is often a tricky time nutritionally for a lot of us. Healthy eating can help boost your immune system, and in conjunction with exercise can better your chances of beating the winter bugs! These tips, courtesy of the NZ Nutrition Foundation, can help you to plan nutritious meals that not only satisfy but provide nutritional benefits for you and your family during the colder months.

Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
It is important to top up your immune system by eating fruit and veges that are rich in antioxidants. Seasonal types include apples, manadrins, broccoli and carrots. Include at least one piece of fruit or vegetable in every meal or snack to get your 5+ a day 

Watch your portion sizes.
It's so tempting to snack and eat huge meals, including seconds, when you are indoors so much. You can avoid this by eating at the table, reserving half of your plate for vegetables, and even using smaller dinner plates.

Drink lots of water.
It is still so important to drink 6-8 glasses of fluid a day, even though it may be chilly outside.

Choose food rich in Vitamin D.
Vitamin D has been shown to support the immune system. We usually get it from the sun, but due to the frequent bad weather and the low sun angle in winter we get far less sun exposure, making food the most important source. Oily fish like salmon, saridnes and mackerel are vitamin D rich, as well as vitamin D fortified milks and yoghurt.

Incorporate garlic into your meals.
Not only does garlic make food taste great, it is also a great fighter of disease. It is most beneficial to your immunity when it is chopped and left to stand for 10-15 minutes prior to cooking.

Enjoy soup and make casseroles.
With lots of veges, some beans or lentils and maybe some meat, soup is the perfect food to build your immune system. Similarly, a casserole with meat, vegetables and a can of beans is a great way to boost your ability to fight disease, as well as being real comfort food.Red meat is high in zinc and iron, two minerals which boost the immune system. Legumes (chickpeas, kidney beans, soy beans) are an excellent source of protein, are low fat, high in fibre, and have a low GI.