WIN­TER ON A PLATE nu­tri­tion tips

Di­eti­tian Kate Di Prima shares how you can stay healthy, sat­is­fied and on top of temp­ta­tions when it’s cold out­side.

Weight Watchers Magazine (Australia) - - Contents -

BREAK­FAST

There is no doubt that hot cooked break­fasts are a great way to start your win­ter days (or any days, for that mat­ter). Eggs are packed with protein, iron and zinc and warm you up when the mer­cury is head­ing south. Pair them with ve­g­ies such as toma­toes, mush­rooms and spinach, a combo rich in an­tiox­i­dants and vi­ta­min C to help you fight win­ter bugs. Mix it up by adding foods such as hot poached salmon, lean ba­con, baked ri­cotta or even some home­made smoky baked beans, all good sources of protein. If you need more break­fast in­spi­ra­tion, check out the de­li­cious brunch recipes start­ing on page 76.

BAKED FRUIT

Ap­ple pies, hot fudge brown­ies and self-sauc­ing pud­dings of­ten creep back on the weekly menu dur­ing win­ter. Un­for­tu­nately, th­ese foods pro­vide very lit­tle in the way of nour­ish­ment and can add fur­ther cen­time­tres to the waist­band. One way to en­joy a warm­ing dessert is to use fruit and its nat­u­ral sug­ars and bake it with cin­na­mon and vanilla, let­ting the heat do the work. Bake a ba­nana, a cored ap­ple or pear in the oven, top with spices and serve with some low-fat Greek yo­ghurt. The melted, caramelised flavours give you a win­ter dessert that’s de­li­cious and healthy.

BRUS­SELS SPROUTS

This won­der veg­etable is in sea­son from April to Septem­ber and is packed with nour­ish­ment and im­mune-boost­ing com­pounds that pro­tect your body from colds and flu. It also con­tains isoth­io­cyanates, which help elim­i­nate po­ten­tial car­cino­gens, and its high fi­bre con­tent also helps main­tain gut health. Be­long­ing to the cru­cif­er­ous fam­ily, which in­cludes cab­bage, broc­coli and cau­li­flower, brus­sels sprouts are low in fat and car­bo­hy­drate, and taste fab­u­lous. You can sim­ply steam them, or try slic­ing them in half be­fore stir­fry­ing them with onion and gar­lic, or sliv­ers of pro­sciutto.

SOUP

This is the king­pin of all win­ter warm­ers. The key to mak­ing a sat­is­fy­ing, healthy soup is to use plenty of veg­eta­bles and a de­cent serve of protein. Soups can leave you feel­ing half empty when they don’t have enough protein to sat­isfy your ap­petite – be­cause protein de­lays the stom­ach from emp­ty­ing and makes you feel fuller for longer. Win­ter ve­g­ies such as zuc­chini, pump­kin and leek make won­der­fully aro­matic soups but need to be pumped up with meat, chicken, fish, egg, seafood or legumes, such as chick­peas, red kidney beans, can­nellini beans or even tofu. Th­ese will sus­tain you for hours af­ter you have swal­lowed your last spoon­ful. Protein is ben­e­fi­cial not just be­cause it keeps you feel­ing full for longer; it is also a source of iron, which helps to boost the im­mune sys­tem.

CA­CAO

Drink­ing a hot cup of ca­cao is a great way to feel as though you are do­ing some­thing deca­dent with­out adding the kilo­joules and sugar of a reg­u­lar hot cho­co­late. Ca­cao is rich in

polyphe­nols, which are pow­er­ful an­tiox­i­dants. Stud­ies show a diet rich in ca­cao can boost im­mu­nity and also re­duce in­flam­ma­tion. You may have to play around with the in­gre­di­ents of your drink to get it ex­actly to your lik­ing. My favourite blend is boil­ing wa­ter, ca­cao pow­der, al­mond milk and honey.

CHILLI

Vivid red, green or brown, chill­ies come in many sizes and pack a load of an­tiox­i­dants. The ac­tive in­gre­di­ent, cap­saicin, is chiefly found in the seeds, home to the hot spice. A Chi­nese study of more than half a mil­lion par­tic­i­pants found that peo­ple who ate food with chill­ies once or twice a week had a mor­tal­ity rate 10 per cent lower than those who avoided the heat. Chill­ies have anti-mi­cro­bial and pathogen-killing prop­er­ties that help to pro­tect against in­fec­tion and dis­ease. Feel free to spread the chilli love around! Add them to soups, stir-fries, cur­ries, roasts and even hot cho­co­late.

WAL­NUTS

Th­ese nuts con­tain mo­noun­sat­u­rated fat and protein that sat­is­fies hunger, as well as vi­ta­min E, which boosts the im­mune sys­tem. Re­search has shown that eat­ing a hand­ful of nuts (30g), five or more times a week, can lower your risk of heart dis­ease by 30 to 50 per cent, and re­duce your risk of type 2 di­a­betes by 25 per cent. They can also help to man­age your weight and im­prove longevity. De­spite the ben­e­fits, only two per cent of Aus­tralians eat a hand­ful of nuts ev­ery day. Nuts can be added to break­fast or tossed through sal­ads. Alternatively, throw some wal­nuts and dried fruit into a snap-lock bag for a healthy snack.

YO­GHURT

We know that yo­ghurt con­tains mil­lions of bac­te­ria liv­ing har­mo­niously to­gether and that th­ese mi­crobes help keep the gut in good work­ing or­der. New re­search high­lights the im­por­tance of our gut flora to our over­all health and shows that by eat­ing the right foods we can help it flour­ish. Yo­ghurt also con­tains pro­bi­otics, friendly bac­te­ria that help to bal­ance out the micro­organ­isms that live in our gut. This helps to boost the im­mune sys­tem. So eat­ing low-fat, Greek­style yo­ghurt reg­u­larly is a great way to help keep win­ter colds and flu at bay. #

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