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5+ A Day

31 May 2022

For Good Health This Winter Look to Seasonal Vegetables for Immunity Support

As the cold weather sets in across Aotearoa, thoughts turn to how we can keep ourselves healthy, therefore the arrival of locally grown, tasty winter vegetable crops couldn’t come at a better time.

5+ A Day Project Manager, Carmel Ireland says eating at least five servings of seasonal vegetables every day is a delicious, and nutritious way to keep healthy and happy no matter what the weather.

“Winter vegetables crops are starting to arrive in stores now, try adding as many as you can to your diet to support the health and wellbeing of your whole whānau.”

Julie North, Registered Nutritionist with Vegetables.co.nz adds that vegetables play an important role in immunity.

“A strong immune system is our best defence against winter illness and plenty of wholesome natural foods, like vegetables, are the best way to ensure we get all the nutrients we need for immune support.

“New Zealand vegetables provide a huge range of key nutrients that support immunity, such as vitamin C, folate and iron. These are naturally found in many winter vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, silver beet and kūmara,” she says.

Ireland notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has raised the profile of products which provide natural immunity support and suggests that selecting vegetables in a wide variety of colours and flavours is the best way to serve up healthy meals.

“Try to eat a mix of colours at each meal. Vegetable soup is an excellent lunch option on a cold day, start with a mix of root vegetables such as parsnips, potato and yams and throw in sliced leeks and silver beet for a fresh boost of colour and flavour.

“I love serving a slice of vegetable frittata for an affordable breakfast. Mix leftover roast vegetables such as carrots and kūmara with pan-fried leeks, stir in lightly beaten eggs and a splash of milk and bake until the egg is set. You can add fresh herbs for delicious flavour combinations,” she says.

Ireland adds that seasonable vegetables represent the best value for shoppers.

“Buying in season is the key to keeping to a manageable budget. Look for vegetables that are in good supply such as broccoli, carrots and silver beet. Make sure you store your produce correctly to keep them fresh and use as much of the vegetable as you can to reduce waste,” she says.

“Careful meal-planning makes this job easier too, for example if I know that we have sports practice on a Wednesday, I’ll choose fast recipes such as steamed broccoli with vinaigrette and honey-glazed carrots for our evening meal. On nights when we have more time, I’ll plan to cook a garlic roasted cauliflower while the oven is already on for some baking or a casserole,” advises Ireland.

Shoppers looking for inspiration and advice about using vegetables for immune support can download the following helpful resources from the 5+ A Day and vegetables.co.nz websites:

  1. Winter vegetables and immunity
  2. Winter vegetables – shop for value

You’ll find a range of tips and recipes to make the most of seasonal vegetables on our recipes page and www.vegetables.co.nz or follow us on social media: @5adaynz and @vegetables.co.nz