You’ve packed the Christmas decorations away, polished off the last of the chocolate selection box and made a list of all the things you’re going to give up this year to ‘get fit and stay healthy’. After all the excitement and joy of the festive period, it leaves you feeling a bit… deflated. 

However, setting positive intentions to eat well and maintain your health doesn’t have to mean denying yourself delicious food. It may seem that nothing much grows at this time of year - the trees are bare, the flowers are dormant, and the supermarket shelves are stocked with imported produce - but the winter season actually brings an abundance of tasty, colourful fruit and vegetables, which can easily be incorporated into daily meal planning to benefit the whole family. 

Just some of the vegetables on offer throughout January, and potentially into February, include:

Beetroot, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celeriac, celery, chicory, Jerusalem artichokes, kale, leeks, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, spring greens, spring onions, squash, swedes, turnips, purple sprouting broccoli.

And when it comes to fruit, you’ll notice an array of apples and pears in all shapes and sizes, as well as the classic range of citrus fruits including clementines, mandarins, satsumas, oranges, lemons and grapefruit (which are not grown naturally in the UK at this time of year but are at their best in countries with a warmer climate).

To ensure you’re getting a wide range of balanced nutrients, keep in mind ‘Eat the Rainbow’! The various shades and colours in fresh fruits and vegetables provide us with the vitamins and minerals we need to ensure good health over the winter season, especially Vitamin C, Vitamin E and antioxidants (also known as phytonutrients), which are vital for boosting our immune systems and protecting us against colds and flu.  Eating at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day is also the best way to make sure you are getting enough fibre in your diet - an important form of carbohydrate that keeps our digestive system working efficiently so that we absorb more nutrients from the food we eat and maintain our energy levels throughout the day.

                                                                                                © Annah Herbert-Graham