The days are changing, so too is our supply of fruits and veggies. This time of the year we see supplies of asparagus, avocado, beetroot, bok choy, broccolini, capsicum, endive, eggplant, various lettuces, tomatoes, and zucchini; plus fruits like kiwi, mango and mandarine, and not to mention the herbs! These include parsley, basil and chives.
It’s a great time of year to enjoy a chilled salad, but what about a warmed leafy green salad? Using fresh lettuce, the just added steamed asparagus and broccolini, roasted beetroot and capsicum. Ta-da!
Asparagus and broccolini are great sources of vitamin A and C. Vitamin A is great for eyesight, while vitamin C boosts the immune system. Beetroot is high in folate which is vital for normal cell growth and development. Lettuce varieties also contain folate and moderate amount of vitamin C.
Eggplants (aka aubergine) can be used to make a fantastic low-fat dip called Baba ganoush; roast the eggplant, remove the skin and blend the eggplant with a small amount of tahini, lemon juice, garlic and coriander. Eggplants contain iron, potassium, niacin, folate and vitamin C. Eggplants are great too as a base for vegetable lasagna, moussaka or ratatouille by adding fresh capsicum, tomatoes, zucchini and all those fresh herbs. Capsicum, tomatoes and zucchini are great sources of antioxidants, fibre, potassium, and some B-group vitamins. And fresh herbs (with various health supporting properties) are the perfect flavour-enhancers for any meal.
If you’ve sensibly accumulated a little extra padding over winter, but now feel it’s time to lighten up, just include as little as 30 minutes a day of moderate activity to help you shed it. Exercise is essential in our daily routine for mental as well as physical health.
So spring to it – get off that couch and take a brisk walk to pick up all those local new season fruits, veggies and spring meats.
Rachel Jeffery is an Accredited Practising Dietitian* (APD)