By James Halim, Nutritionist and Food Service Dietician at MACROS
Cold nights and seasonal changes call for comfort foods, but as the temperature drops it is important to note our immune system takes a hit too. By spending more time inside our Vitamin D levels are reduced, and many people lose motivation to get out and get active.
This year, due to the current climate, a strong and healthy immune system is crucial. Arming your body with nutritious whole foods will ensure you are well equipped to quickly fight off any cold and flu, before bringing your body back to a healthy balanced state.
Here are some quick, healthy and hearty meals to add to your must-cook list for the cooler months. It’s important to note that the fruit and veg should stay firmly on the shopping list too, ensuring your uptake remains high given their Vitamin C and anti-inflammatory properties, perfect for maintaining a healthy and strong immune system.
A hug in a bowl, need we say more? Sometimes it’s hard to get excited about soup, so we have a few tricks to share that will elevate your next batch. Add some chilli cashews to your pumpkin soup, drizzle some pesto and toasted pine nuts over your tomato soup, and don’t forget to play with texture. Pureed roast vege or shredded chicken will give it some more substance (alongside the buttered bread of course).
A family favourite and versatile dish that could feed up to eight, or freeze for a later date. We recommend packing this one full of veggies for added antioxidants, and there is the option to make this dish with lentils if you’re plant-based, or simply looking to reduce your meat intake.
Spicy, mild, creamy, a curry can be filled with anything you want it to be. For winter especially, load up on the garlic, ginger and onions to really make the most of their immune boosting properties. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous we recommended swapping out the traditional rice base for wholegrain noodles – total game changer!
The universal meal for time poor folk, however, there are a few ways to make this less creamy and more nutrient dense. Reach for lentil pasta or wholegrain pasta as opposed to the original wheat, and go heavy on the mix in’s. Think sautéed kale, grilled asparagus, roast pumpkin to make the meal rich in fibre and flavour.
Recipes aside, winter doesn’t always mean you feel more inspired to get in the kitchen and cook up a storm. So, for those seeking a fresh but utterly convenient alternative, you can try a meal delivery services.
Brands like MACROS have pre-portioned, dietician approved, healthy meals dropped straight to your door – variations of the above too! As the cold and flu season settles in, this may be the perfect time to thrust the accountability on someone else when it comes to maintaining your immune system. Happy cooking (or adding to cart)!
Want more? Click here for our Winter Roast Chicken and Kale Salad with Avocado Dressing.