British soils don’t hang up their coats for winter

Rather they switch to providing us with hearty, sustaining produce that offers us the energy and warmth we need to keep going through the cold weather.

Here are some reasons to love local fruit and veg this winter:

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Low Calorie

Root vegetables are richer in starch and carbohydrates than lighter summer vegetables, yet are still low calorie and very high in vitamins and minerals. In fact some root veg such as squash, celeriac, swede and carrots make nutritious but lower calorie mash than white potatoes, making them a good alternative for people wanting to lose weight.

Vitamin A

Orange coloured fruit and veg such as carrots, squash, pumpkin, clementines and oranges are high in beta-carotene, a pre-curser to vitamin A which is essential for night vision and skin health.

Happy Tummies

Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage and kale provide food for the beneficial bacteria in your gut, so you’ll have better digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Kale – The SuperVeg

Eating green leafy vegetables is well known as a pretty awesome addition to anyone’s diet, but when it comes to the pick of the bunch, kale is king. Very high in vitamins A, C and K, as well as many antioxidants, kale also reduced cholesterol (1), prevents cancer (2), and contains a hefty amount of calcium, magnesium and potassium which are essential for heart health.

Kale is in season over the winter months which mean we can get it fresh from UK soils, and it doesn’t lose as many vitamins during transit when being imported.

Here’s what’s in season in winter:

1) Vegetables

– Artichoke, beetroot, black truffles, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chicory, horseradish, jerusalem artichoke, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkin, salsify, shallots, swede, turnips, watercress, white truffles, wild mushrooms.

How to use:

Most winter vegetables can be roasted with a little oil and garlic. This intensifies their flavours and go brilliantly with Winter roast dinners, especially game meats which are also in season.

2) Fruit

– Apples, blood oranges, clementines, cranberries, kiwi fruit, lemons, oranges, passion fruit, pears, pineapple, pomegranate, quince, rhubarb, satsumas, tangerines.

How to use:

Stew fruits slowly with a little water in a saucepan until soft, then serve with yoghurt and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

3) Nuts

– Almonds, brazil nuts, chestnuts, cob nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts.

How to use:

Add extra crunch to Winter salads, or snack on them instead of chocolates!

4) Herbs

Rosemary, sage.

How to use:

Use liberally to season meat and vegetables. Herbs contain many health properties as well as adding calorie free flavour.

5) Meat & Poultry

Beef, duck, goose, grouse, guinea fowl, hare, lamb, mallard, partridge, pheasant, rabbit, turkey, venison, wood pigeon.

How to use:

Opt for local suppliers where possible, where you know that animals have been caught and slaughtered humanely and where the meat is likely of a higher quality.

6) Fish

Clams, cockles, cod, coley, crab, dab, dover sole, gurnard, haddock, hake, halibut, langoustine, lemon sole, lobster, mackerel, monkfish, mussels, oysters, plaice, pollack, red mullet, scallops, sea bass (wild), sea bream, skate, squid, turbot, winkles.

How to use:

When all that rich winter food gets too much, fish is a delicious lighter alternative. Or knock up a hearty fish pie, a firm family favourite.

Recipe: Tarragon Baked Beetroot, carrots and leeks

Serves 4

Roasting vegetables brings out the wonderful sweetness of beetroot, carrot and leeks and these colourful baked vegetables, not only look beautiful, but are the perfect accompaniment for a Sunday roast. Serve this dish with some fresh mint leaves to give your side dish an extra zing.

Annual Guide to Seasonal Fruit and Vegetables_2

INGREDIENTS

– 4 beetroot (about 75g each), trimmed and quartered

– 350g carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces (about 3 medium)

– 1 garlic clove, crushed

– 2 tsp olive oil

– 2 leeks, white part only, about 400g

– Handful of fresh tarragon

– 50ml hot vegetable stock

METHOD

– Preheat the oven to 200°c, (fan 180°c).

– Put the beetroot and carrots with the garlic in a baking dish. Toss with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

– Roast for 20 minutes, then add the leeks, tarragon and stock.

– Toss everything together and cover with foil.

– Return to the oven for a further 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the stock has reduced.

Connect with Expert Pollyanna Hale

References

1.  ScienceDirect

2. Cancer.gov

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