Eat the colours of the rainbow | Springtime fruit and vegetables

Sweet potato salad

Yes! Spring has sprung. So, what does that mean? To me, it means the sun is shining a little brighter, people seem happier, there’s more time outside, and most importantly, there’s a seasonal change in fruit and vegetables.

It’s the perfect time to start thinking about what we should eat, what is available from the grocery store, cooking methods and our lifestyle. For me, thinking ahead is a way of preventing eating foods that won't benefit my health and skipping important meals - the way I behave in the kitchen is no different to any other area of my life.

In order to eat and live well, you need to be prepared. Take time to plan your meals - it only takes five -10 minutes to think about your food plan for the week, but it will save you hours and make your life so much easier. I know I get more out of my day when I spend less time looking for something healthy to eat. I’m happier because I have food readily available, instead of waiting for the right time to get out, buy lunch and miss the rush.

Here are a few things I think about:

  • What do I need to improve on? For me, if I’m too busy, I’m not consistent with eating a nutritious lunch
  • Have I noticed any bad eating habits starting to form?
  • Have I made a commitment to myself to eat right and nourish my body?
  • Have I scheduled my weekly/daily shop?
  • What quick and easy meals am I able to make?

Around 90 per cent of my weekly breakfast meals are made at home. I noticed I’d started occasionally buying my lunch unless I had food left-over from the previous night; I wasn't consistent. Now, I’ve made a commitment to preparing all my lunches at home from Monday to Friday. To stay consistent, I make sure I have fresh ingredients at home, all the time. I also schedule time to stop at the shops or go to the markets on the weekend to get the freshest produce I can. I take the time to put thought into my lunch and what I want to make.

To keep it simple, I think about three things when creating my recipes for the week:

  1. Colour: by purchasing a variety of vegetables and fruit, you unknowingly get a selection of nutrients. Each type of fruit and vegetable contains different types of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. So, eat all the colours of the rainbow!
  2. Texture: no-one likes boring salad leaves. I make sure to add a mix of textures to my salad. Why not try pepitas? I also like almonds, either flaked or loosely crushed. Pomegranates will be in-season soon, and they are a real treat to throw into a salad as they add extra crunch.
  3. Taste: you want your salad to have flavour, so don't be afraid to get creative and mix things together. One of my favourite dressings is mixing lemon juice with a 1/4 avocado, olive oil and Himalayan sea salt.

Whether you’re trying to improve your health, energy or nutrient intake, you can make a simple salad dressing with ingredients you have at home. Think salt, pepper, olive oil, avocado oil or macadamia oil. Add in chopped parsley or coriander and the flavour immediately changes. Other ingredients like whole-grain mustard, vinegar, balsamic vinegar and apple cider vinegar can be used too. Get creative!

Here are some of my must-have fruit and vegetables:

  • parsley
  • a variety of lettuce
  • onion
  • garlic
  • a variety of fruit
  • avocado
  • tomatoes
  • zucchini
  • asparagus
  • sweet potato

These ingredients can be used to create dinners and lunches. Pair them with a piece of lean protein and you have yourself a healthy, balanced meal.

Here are some of my favourite meals:

1. Spinach leaves, with oven-roasted pumpkin and smashed avocado, drizzled with olive oil and Himalayan sea salt.

2. Oven-roasted sweet potato fries, with sage and Greek yoghurt used as a dip. Chop parsley, tomato and cucumber, and drizzle lemon and olive oil for the salad.

3. Oven roasted zucchini, tomatoes and asparagus, with garlic, herbs and spices. I even eat this cold sometimes!

4. Coleslaw with shredded apple and beetroot

5. Shredded carrot and parsley, with mustard, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

 

Have fun, get creative and, most of all: be prepared. Eating healthy, nutrient-dense meals doesn't have to be boring - it's what you make it.

Happy eating!

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