by Ann Taylor
Eating what’s in season locally gives us the nutrients we need for the local season, winter here in Sydney. For example think of deep orange coloured pumpkins and bright, dark green of Swiss chard and broccoli. These colours indicate foods high in beta-carotene that a healthy liver converts to vitamin A in our bodies. Vitamin A is a key nutrient for healthy immune function and healthy skin, as is zinc.
Beta-carotene is one of the fat-soluble nutrients, meaning we need some fat in the meal to enable us to absorb it. So have some healthy fat with your pumpkin and greens.
Always think about putting more colour on your plate! Natural diversity of colours in food indicate more variety of different health-giving plant chemicals (called phytochemicals), that have health benefits.
Have you tried these?
Blood oranges: 10X more antioxidants and 2X more vitamin A than navel oranges
Purple and yellow carrots: with more antioxidant anthocyanins and xanthophylls for healthy heart and lungs
Purple, orange and green cauliflowers, and the marvellous Romanesque, with their anti-cancer protective properties.
Here are some simple healthy meal ideas:
Peel 1 butternut or ½ large pumpkin and cut into chunks. Put into a large pan with 1-2 chopped carrots, 1 chopped onion, optionally 1-2 garlic cloves and a grated knob of peeled ginger. Cover with vegetable stock (or use chicken stock or bone broth) or water flavoured with a stock cube or 2 tsp Herbamare. Cook til soft enough to blend with a hand blender.
Stir in some coconut milk or cream or some dairy cream. Season to taste.
Tip: Leave the pumpkin seeds IN your pumpkin soup and blend them in for extra protein, healthy fats and zinc.
Spinach/Swiss chard puree
Remove the thick white fleshy stems from a bunch of spinach/chard; wash the leaves; put in a large pot with the water on the leaves; steam til wilted; drain any excess water; add about 1 Tblsp butter; pinch of ground nutmeg.; season with a herbal salt like Herbamare; puree with a hand blender.
Suggestions: Have with baked white fish; as filling for a baked potato; with feta cheese as a pie filling; in frittata with eggs.