As dietitians, we’re often asked to recommend just one fruit or vegetable - if only it were that simple! When it comes to fresh produce, variety is key! This is because each different fruit or vegetable contains a unique set of ‘foodie-DNA’ (we may have just made up that term), which when combined in a balanced diet will provide the body with powerful nutritional benefits.
To make things simple, we’ve put together a list of our top 10 favourite F&V that are in season right now!
Our famous last words are, “can I grab a side of avo with that?” and why not! Avos are rich in healthy (monounsaturated) fats, which help keep our cholesterol levels within a healthy range and therefore keep our heart healthy! If you’re living with diabetes, the combination of avo’s healthy fats and high fibre content has been shown to help improve insulin sensitivity and control blood sugar levels.
Trust us when we say that broccolini makes stir fries much more exciting. This stretched out version of broccoli is an exceptionally rich source of both vitamin C and vitamin A. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and immune booster, helping to fight off common viruses causing flus throughout the cooler months. Vitamin C also assists your bodies to absorb iron from iron rich plant-based foods (e.g. beans, chickpeas and lentils). This is particularly important for non-meat eaters, as including vegetables high in vitamin C with your meal can help your body absorb more iron. Vitamin A plays a critical role in maintaining healthy vision and assists in preventing eye degenerative diseases. Vitamin A is also involved in maintaining healthy, clear skin and building strong bones.
Just the look of silverbeet screams healthy right? We’re not fans of sitting down to a bowl of silverbeet for lunch and thus up until recently we were unsure of the best way to incorporate silverbeet into our diet. BUT we think we’re onto something with our Spinach and Feta Pie! This dark leafy veg is a good source of iron for vegetarians and for those watching their weight, it’s low in kJ (energy) and therefore a great way to bulk out meals and leave yourself feeling satisfied.
We love Mandarins as a simple, sweet snack in winter and as a bonus there’s minimal mess! Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean there’s no UV radiation. Luckily, mandarins contain beta-carotene, which gets stored in your skin and can help the skin protect you from harmful UV radiation. This helps to prevent sun damage and reduce mature ageing. Remember even though it’s winter, it’s still important to slip, slop, slap!
If it’s not already, cauliflower needs to be a staple ingredient on your shopping list this winter. It goes perfectly in soups - or you can even try making cauliflower rice or mash, it’s a delicious way to sneak more vegetables into your diet. For those mama’s to-be, cauliflower comes with an added bonus for you! It’s rich in folate, a B group vitamin that is essential for the growth and development of healthy cells. Consuming adequate folate during pregnancy also reduces the risk of neural tube birth defects such as Spina Bifida.
It’s time to ditch the Vitamin C tablets guys - did you know that just one kiwi fruit will provide well over your daily requirements for Vitamin C. In fact, there is only one fruit with more Vitamin C than a kiwifruit, and that’s guavas! Like many fruits, kiwis contain fibre, which is important to keep us feeling full and to keep our guts healthy. NB: Eating the skin of kiwifruits will keep your gut extra healthy and happy! (FYI- we’re loud and proud kiwi fruit-skin eaters).
Sweet potato chips? Yesssss! Can’t go wrong with a bowl full of sweet potato chips! When it comes to sweet potatoes, there’s many different varieties to choose from, but we can’t go past the traditional orange-flesh varieties. We often grab one or two oversized sweet pots from the imperfect picks range and make sweet potato mash or chips for a crunchy side to our lunch and dinners.
Pomegranates, or also known as ‘seeded apples’, are one way to make your salad stand out! Their pretty red colour comes from the anthocyanins. These anthocyanins have antioxidant-like properties, which help to protect the healthy cells in our body from damage caused by free radicals - a process called oxidation. Whilst oxidation is a natural process that occurs with aging, you can help reduce the amount of oxidation that occurs in your bodies by eating foods rich in antioxidants.
Brussel Sprouts Yes, they may have been voted the most hated vegetable in America in 2008, but brussels are so on trend right now! We say keep it simple and drizzle them with olive oil, a little chilli and roast in the oven. In terms of nutrition, you mightn’t have known but brussels can help keep your bones strong due to their rich source of Vitamin K! Depending on what is required by our bodies at the time, Vitamin K plays a role in either helping our blood to clot or preventing it from clotting.
These bad boys are the first ingredient we add to most savoury dishes, be it chilli beef, pasta or vegetable soup. Brown onions are rich in phytochemicals or as we like to call them ‘Fight-O-Chemicals’ including disulfides, trisulfides and vinyldithins. All of these chemicals help to play a role in fighting inflammation, cancer, ageing and some neurodegenerative diseases. Brown onions are a stable that deserve a spot in your pantry always.