With the challenge of lockdown and changeable weather pushing many of us to fall out of our normal healthy eating routines, spring’s bounty of fresh, nutritious fruit and vegetables couldn’t have come at a better time.
September means it’s time to add a burst of colour and flavour to our meals with asparagus, mushrooms, avocado and new potatoes arriving in stores, as well as tasty spring fruit such as strawberries, grapefruit and tangelos.
Taking care of both our bodies and our minds is so important during this difficult time and the change of season is the perfect opportunity to reset the health of the whole whānau while building up immunity, even in the midst of Level 3 restrictions or a Level 4 lockdown.
5+ A Day Project Manager, Carmel Ireland, says that locally grown fruit and vegetables offer vital nutrition.
“Staying healthy in lockdown is a challenge for all of us but eating at least five servings of fresh produce every day helps everyone in your bubble maintain health and wellbeing,” she says.
Ireland suggests we get back to basics with each meal.
“Healthy eating doesn’t need to be complicated. Include fresh fruit each morning with breakfast, try a spring salad at lunch and serve up colourful helpings of vegetables for dinner.
“Get into a daily routine that includes a walk in the fresh air and regular mealtimes to avoid unhealthy snacking. Meal planning will help you to make the most of spring produce and make supermarket shopping easier,” she says.
Ireland notes that spring fruit and vegetables offer a range of health benefits that support immunity and wellbeing.
“You’ll find avocado and mushrooms in the supermarket already with asparagus and grapefruit due to arrive in the next few weeks. Later in September the first of the season’s locally grown strawberries will be picked, and in October we’ll have fresh tangelos and new potatoes in stores,” she says.
5 ways to make the most of spring produce
· Make a citrus & strawberry fruit salad with mint and honey for breakfast
· Try mushrooms on toast for lunch with feta and fresh herbs
· Use avocado to butter your sandwiches
· Try fresh asparagus rolls for lunch with melted cheese
· Make a new potato salad with chopped avocado and asparagus
Nutritional facts about spring produce
Avocado – Good source of dietary fibre, contains folate, vitamin B6, niacin, vitamins C & E and potassium
Mushrooms – A source of dietary fibre, contains biotin, pantothenic acid, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, copper, phosphorus, potassium and selenium
New potatoes – A source of dietary fibre, vitamin C, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, thiamin, magnesium and contains potassium
Asparagus – A source of dietary fibre, contains folate, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamins B6, C & K and contains potassium
Grapefruit – Over 100 percent of the RDI for vitamin C, a source of folate and contains potassium
Strawberries – A source of dietary fibre, one serving contains 200 percent of your RDI for vitamin C. Also contains folate, niacin and potassium
Tangelos – A good source of vitamin C