Believe it or not, spring is fast approaching! As we dust off the chilly cobwebs of January and February and finally get through the Valentine’s chocolate (from yourself or another – we’re with you) it’s time to start anew. And by that we mean seasonal eating.
Did you know that seasonal foods are harvested at their peak? This is when they are the most flavoursome and nutritious, and they’re better for the environment.
Beyond the taste, eating seasonally is thought to support our own seasonal needs! Our bodies go through a lot as the seasons change, and that means our nutrition requirements change too. Heading down to your local market and grabbing what’s in season is a great way to give your body what it wants after a long winter – there’s a reason you crave crispy salad and watermelon in July, and warming root vegetable soups in December.
"Seasonal foods are a way of reconnecting with the cycle that nature intended for us. Foods eaten in season not only taste better, but they are healthier too. They are higher in antioxidants, which are natural components that fight free radicals, helping to keep you young and diseases at bay.
Foods that are out of season are likely to be shipped from around the world to get to you, usually picked before their flavour peaks in order to survive the long trip and will lose their nutrients along the way."
Add some excitement and variety to your meals this year by eating in season, and treat yourself to fruit and veg when they’re most delicious.
I've put together a quick and easy recipe using our top three picks for spring:
- ½ cup quinoa
- Tofu (or meat of choice)
- 1 small sweet potato
- A handful of purple sprouting broccoli
- 1 red pepper
- 1 red onion
- 2 handfuls of spinach (washed)
- Olive oil
- Chilli flakes
- Sesame seeds
- Salt and pepper
Rinse the quinoa. Bring to the boil, simmer for 15 minutes and put aside.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Peel and chop the sweet potato into small chunks. With a drizzle of olive oil, pop them in the oven to roast for 40 minutes.
In another tray, chop the onion and peppers into strips, chop the broccoli into small florets. Drizzle with oil, season with a pinch of salt and pop in the oven with the potato for 30 minutes.
Prep your tofu or meat of choice. With a splash of oil, fry on both sides until crispy. Once cooked, add all the veg and quinoa to a bowl and mix together with the garlic, chilli flakes, sesame seeds, another drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper.
Serve on a bed of washed spinach and top with the crispy tofu. Yum!
Sonal is a nutritional therapist and health tutor. She has been director of Synergy Nutrition since 2009 and consults privately, runs independent nutrition workshops, and is a regular guest on TV.