Dr Libby on winter food
Nourishing yourself during the cold months can be made just that bit easier by having a number of staples on hand. Keep warm by using warming spices, slow-cooked meals or soups. It is easy to pack soups and stews full of nutrition. Winter is the perfect time to restock your pantry and swap out some old, less-nourishing favourites, for nutrient-dense alternatives.
I love almonds, so I always have them around to mix into muffins or stir-fry with green vegetables. Almonds are a wonderful source of Vitamin E, a potent anti-aging antioxidant. Walnuts, cashews, and pecans can also be added to dishes, adding protein and essential fatty acids. Nuts are so versatile they can even take the place of flour and breadcrumbs—with a lot more flavour and health benefits.
Making bone broths is a particularly nourishing option for people with food sensitivities or gastrointestinal disorders because they are usually very well-tolerated and a very easy way of supplying essential nutrients. Great in soups, broth or stock is also useful when making sauces, risotto, mashed potatoes, casseroles, or even simple sauteed veges. Freeze any remaining stock into ice cube trays so you’ll have small portions on hand.
Chickpeas are a great source of fibre, which helps to keep elimination pathways regular. Any beans are wonderful but chickpeas are particularly versatile because of how easily their flavour adapts to different dishes. Chickpeas taste great mashed into burgers or blended into hummus. If you don’t tolerate chickpeas, brown lentils are a great alternative and are delicious mixed into a mince dish.
Of all legumes and nuts, lentils contain the third highest levels of protein, which is of particular importance for vegetarians. Lentils make soothing cold weather eating. They’re as versatile as chickpeas and just as low-cost. Make a filling lentil soup, add them to meatballs, or sprinkle on top of a salad.
Adzuki beans are a good source of molybdenum, a trace mineral that produces the enzyme sulfite oxidase, crucial for liver detoxification. These beans are a nourishing addition to salads, veggie burgers, dips and even brownie or pancake recipes. Here's my adzuki bean tabouli recipe.
Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin B, vitamin C, calcium and magnesium. It also has potent anti-inflammatory properties. As one of the cruciferous vegetables it is wonderful to eat on a regular basis and great for liver detox. Cabbage can be served raw as an ingredient in salads or coleslaw, but can also be used in soups and stews.
Kale or “the queen of greens” as it’s often referred to, packs a mighty nutritional punch. Kale is a good source of vitamins C and K and is packed full of antioxidants. Great in pesto, soups, stir-fries or frittatas — you can also use it in juices and smoothies. Baked in the oven, it makes a delicious alternative to potato crisps.
Kumara is a great Kiwi winter favourite. It contains folate and dietary fibre and is an excellent source of beta-carotene, and vitamin E. Delicious roasted or mashed to serve with a hearty winter casserole.