Seasonal goodies to enjoy now

lemon-lime-orangeWhen fruits and vegetables are in season, not only are they cheaper, but they taste their best too!  That’s why it’s always important to embrace in-season produce, rather than going for the inferior-quality, long-term stored goods (such as apples from the previous year!) or over-priced imports such as U.S. cherries in the middle of our winter.

What’s great right now?

Bananas, oranges and lemons are vitamin packed, at their cheapest and looking gorgeous in the fruit and veg section.  It seems not that long ago that we were paying a massive Cyclone Larry-influenced premium for bananas at between $11 and $15 a kilo!  Get into them now to boost potassium (the good mood mineral), add fibre and bump up your fruit intake.  They’re the perfect little package to take to work or school and eat anywhere, any time.

Oranges and lemons are infinitely edible, drinkable and usable in many forms.  They pack a mean Vitamin C punch and help your body absorb iron if consumed with meats, leafy greens and other iron-rich foods.  Add citrus zest to salads, cakes, pastas and puddings.  Juice a couple of oranges and gulp down with breakfast.  Add fresh lemon juice to warm water to kick-start your metabolism in the morning.  Or simply peel an orange and eat; or cut thin slices or wedges of lemon and add to a salad for a bit of bite!

blueberriesBlueberries are in plentiful supply and they are perfect little antioxidant bubbles.  At current prices, around $3.50 a 125g punnet, throw a few in your bowl of cereal, bake some easy muffins, munch between meals, make a blueberry and mango salad and enjoy with some low fat vanilla yoghurt.  Irresistible!

Strawberries and raspberries are ideal low GI treats, fantastic to snack on thanks to their high fibre and succulent goodness.  Raspberries are a little higher priced so buy when you see them on special.  The abundance of strawberries at the moment means you can indulge often.  Yet, since when was fruit an indulgence?  It’s an absolute must-have in your daily diet, so scoop up a couple of punnets and pump your body full of Vitamin C.

Mangoes are everywhere right now.  It’s possible to pick up a bargain as I did when I walked into Aldi one day and saw them at 69c each!  Guess who bought a whole tray and has been overdosing ever since?

Now, onto vegies, which may not be considered as fun and indulgent as fruit, but if you try new and wonderful ways with different varieties, you can truly enjoy getting your 5 serves a day.

artichokeYou just know spring has arrived when you see artichokes, asparagus and fresh beetroot in the shops.  Don’t shy away from them just because you don’t know what to do with them.  They taste superb, go a long way towards fulfilling your daily fibre intake and they are an excellent way to add variety to your vegie repertoire.

Spinach, mushrooms and peas are also plentiful.  Think stir fry.  Think pasta accompaniments.  Think salads.  Vegetables are just so versatile; they can be eaten fresh and raw or cooked.

Here are some easy peasy ideas to rev up your vegie consumption:
Quiche – spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, onions, pumpkin, carrot, leek, tomato.
Salads – lettuce, spinach, carrot, tomato, onion, beetroot, cabbage, other leafy greens, capsicum.
Pasta accompaniments – tomato, spinach, pumpkin, onion, broccoli.
Stir fry – bok choy, carrot, onion, spinach, celery, snow peas, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower.

When nature is this generous, how on earth can you resist?

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