Healthy seasonal ingredients

If you think there's not much growing at this time of year, think again! Market stalls and supermarket shelves are bound to be groaning with brassicas and root vegetables, as well as citrus fruits and homegrown nuts.

When you're after really fresh fruit and vegetables, then eating produce in season is a good way to go. Buying locally grown produce is ideal, where possible, as you're also reducing the air miles and road miles it has travelled to reach you. This might not always be possible, however, particularly if you have a taste for oranges, clementines and mandarins, and the more exotic pomegranates!

Try these root vegetables

  • Sweet potato

  • Parsnip

  • Swede

  • Beetroot

  • Turnip

Root vegetables are generally low in calories and release their energy slowly, thereby helping to regulate our blood-sugar levels. They are good sources of dietary fibre and contain healthy antioxidants: by growing underground, they are able to absorb many nutrients from the soil. Try a winter root mash of swede, turnip and carrot instead of potatoes. Parsnips roast really well, while a baked sweet potato makes a nice change from a standard jacket potato.

Try these brassicas

  • Kale

  • Brussels sprouts

  • Kohlrabi

  • Swiss chard

  • Pak choi

Otherwise known as the cabbage family or “greens”, brassicas can divide people and their taste buds. Many of their known health benefits are associated with glucosinolates, the sulphurous compounds that give broccoli and cabbage their distinctive smell! Broccoli and Brussels sprouts contain high levels of vitamin C, which helps protect the cells and helps the body absorb iron in the diet. Greens also contain vitamin K which aids the body's clotting and healing process.

Try these fruits and nuts

  • Pumpkin: officially a fruit, or gourd, pumpkin has a high vitamin A content. (170% RDA)

  • Clementines: a great source of vitamin C (81% RDA).

  • Pomegranates: these little ruby jewels are packed with antioxidants and have long been thought of as symbols of health and longevity.

  • Chestnuts: these nuts are the only ones containing notable amounts of vitamin C (44% RDA). They are cholesterol free as well!

  • Cobnuts: another good source of protein and fibre, these nuts are also rich in vitamin E and calcium.

Note: RDA = recommended daily allowance (per 100g portion)

Further information

Tempt your taste buds with a couple of our favourite seasonal dishes, using these online recipes.