On the menu
When we’re all so busy it can be difficult to find the time to buy, cook, and enjoy good food together.
It can be just as hard to come up with meal ideas to help the family eat a wide range of foods and to ensure little ones grow to love good food, just as it should be.
Here we share tips on what to eat to be ‘in season’ and the benefits of enjoying a colourful plate of food.
Eating in season
Getting seasonal fruit and vegetables on the menu at home is a great choice for lots of reasons.
- Great taste - eating the right things at the right time means food tastes its best.
- Working with nature - growing in season means less interference with nature.
- Better for your budget - a basket of fruit and veg bought in season can be as much as a third cheaper than the same basket bought out of season.
Here’s a handy little guide to help you choose what’s best to eat when.
Carrots & kale
Leeks & savoy cabbage
Rhubarb, asparagus & spinach
Strawberries, peas & broad beans
Cucumber, curly lettuce & cherries
Cos lettuce, plums & raspberries
Courgette, runner beans & blackberries
Cox apples, squash & sweetcorn
Potatoes & red cabbage
Brussel sprouts & white cabbage
Adapted from materials available at www.eatseasonably.co.uk
A colourful plate
As children we were always told to “eat our greens”, but it’s just as important to eat our reds, oranges, yellows, blues and purples as different colours provide us with all the nutrients we need to stay strong and healthy.
Ideally this means picking one daily serving of fruit and vegetables from each of the four colour groups – red, oranges & yellows, greens, and purples & blues.
A colourful plate with different fruit and vegetables also means your family will be enjoying a range of tastes and textures and will help little ones engage their senses.
Know your colours
Contain antioxidants including lycopene (in tomatoes), anthocyanins (red berries, ellagic acid (strawberries, raspberries & pomegranate).
Lycopene is thought to have antioxidant properties that may help protect against Cardiovascular disease (CVD) & has been reported to help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.
Chlorophyll gives green fruits & vegetables their colour, but many are rich in other nutrients including lutein & zeaxanthin.
There is evidence to suggest lutein & zeaxanthin-rich vegetables may help prevent & slow the progression of an eye disease, age-related macular degeneration. Broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, kale, peas & pak choi are all sources of lutein & zeaxanthin.
White & beige
Anthoxanthins create white or cream colours. Potatoes are one of the biggest sources of vitamin C in our diets & are full of potassium too.
White & beige
Some studies have suggested that anthoxanthins may reduce the risk of CVD & inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, there is not enough evidence to recommend white fruits & vegetables over those of other colours.