Making the most of seasonal eating in August

 

Close up of woman holding a bowl of freshly picked plums

Whilst it’s not too difficult to find out which foods are in season and when, it’s not always easy deciding what to do with those foods. 

If you’re lacking in meal ideas, then Clinical Nutritionist, Suzie Sawyer, can help bring some much-needed inspiration to your kitchen.

 

 

Venison

Whilst many of us don’t think of venison as being a ‘mainstream’ meat, it’s fantastically nutritious and delicious.  It contains more energising iron than other red meats, provides some healthy omega-3 fats and has less saturated fat than chicken without the skin.

A cooked venison steak on a chopping board

I personally love venison and I keep it really simple by cooking it in the same way as a steak.  For this time of year, I would quickly fry the venison (I like red meat fairly rare). Boil some baby new potatoes with some fresh mint and make a large salad – include some spring onion, also in season right now.  That will take no more than 15 minutes and you’ll have a fabulous meal.

Sweetcorn

Fresh sweetcorn (as corn on the cob) may be a little harder to obtain this year with the drought affecting crops in the UK.  However, if you can find some, then grab it straight away.  Corn has always been a food staple and a relatively inexpensive crop to produce. Corn provides beta-carotene which is turned into vitamin A in the body as needed, immune-boosting vitamin C, energising folate and that all-important fibre.

Summer,Food.,Ideas,For,Barbecue,And,Grill,Parties.,Grilled,Corn

In terms of what to do with corn on the cob, there really is no better way than boiling the kernels until soft to poke with a fork and serving with butter and plenty of black pepper. Corn is also great on the barbecue, but ideally partially cook it first.

Plums

Plums need to be picked at just the right time so they have a little natural sweetness rather than being too sharp. However, they have an amazing array of antioxidants which are so protective of overall health, so it’s worth getting the timings right. Plums are also high in vitamin C and potassium which are both great for heart health and keeping the arteries flexible, allowing good blood flow.

Bowl,With,Oatmeal,,Fresh,Plums,And,Nuts,On,Table

Again, I keep it really simple with plums as I love them on my overnight oats.  Therefore, I stew them with a little honey, keep them in the fridge and then look forward to eating them in the morning.

Mackerel

Mackerel is a wonderfully healthy fish.  It’s packed with omega-3 fats which are generally very deficient in the UK diet but are essential for our health.  Importantly, the body can’t make omega-3 fats, so we must eat them in the diet, at least two or three times per week.

Fresh mackerel with lemon and herbs on foil ready to be baked

Mackerel does have quite a strong flavour and is also quite rich so any sauces with butter don’t really work.  Much better I find are spicy or citrus flavours.  Again, simplicity is the way forward so serve up a super-healthy meal by just adding some new potatoes or basmati rice with tender stem broccoli.

Aubergine

We often associate aubergines (called eggplant by the Americans) with Mediterranean countries as they frequently appear in Greek moussakas and French ratatouille.  As they’re cooked and eaten with the skin-on, you’ll be getting all the real value from the antioxidant-rich anthocyanins in the colourful skin. Aubergines are also a rich source of fibre, and manganese which is great for the bones.

Vegetable,Stew,,Eggplant,,Onion,,Zucchini,With,Tomato,Sauce,,Garlic,And

I absolutely love a simple pasta ratatouille; chop up an aubergine, courgette, onion, garlic, and roast in the oven.  It’s always great to add the tomatoes later in the roasting process. Then add the mixture to some cooked wholegrain pasta, toss with a handful of fresh basil leaves and top with some Parmesan cheese if desired.  And the best news is that this dish provides all of your 5-a-day!

So, enjoy cooking seasonally this August and reap the healthy benefits as well as the delicious flavours on offer.

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How to have a healthy afternoon tea

Luxury,Porcelain,Tea,Set,With,A,Cup,,Teapot,,Sugar,Bowl

Afternoon tea is a British tradition; the ‘meal’ you don’t always need but the foods on the table are too good to resist!

However, afternoon tea doesn’t always need to be calorie and sugar-laden. There are lots of delicious swaps you can make and still enjoy it.

Clinical nutritionist, Suzie Sawyer, shares her five top ways of making afternoon tea healthier and even more delicious.

 

Beetroot hummus and crudités

Homemade beetroot hummus is delicious and nutritious, whilst bringing life to any chopped vegetables you may eat with it. Beetroot really is a super food, delivering plenty of energy, antioxidants and betaine which helps many conditions, especially high blood pressure. 

Beetroot,Hummus

Beetroot hummus is also incredibly easy to make; cook some raw beetroot, add a can of chickpeas, some natural yoghurt, lemon, and cumin.  You can take your choice of veggies but chopped peppers of any colour and carrots are good choices and both deliver plenty of immune-boosting vitamin C.  You’ll be hooked from the first bite!

Toasted bagels

These may not be on the usual tea table, but bagels are much lower in fat and higher in fibre if you choose the whole grain variety rather than other tea-time breads.

Peanut,Butter,On,Half,A,Bagel,On,Snack,Plate

Choice of toppings is up to you, but almond nut butter is incredibly creamy and contains the omega-3 fats which are great for the heart and hormones. Add some smashed avocado and you’ve created a super tea-time treat.  Avocados are rich in vitamin E which is great for the skin. Healthy certainly doesn’t mean ‘tasteless’ with this dish.

Chewy oat cookies

These provide a sweet treat without too much sugar and contain plenty of fibre to keep the bowels regular. These chewy oat cookies contain whole grain oats as the base ingredient which are full of energising B-vitamins, plus beta glucans which naturally help reduce cholesterol levels.

Homemade,Oatmeal,Cookies,On,Wooden,Board,On,Old,Table,Background.

Just add to the oats some shredded coconut, dried apricots and cranberries and a little milk. Mix, bake, and there’s not much more needed for the healthiest, tastiest cookies ever!

Delicate prawn and lemon sandwiches

These are delicate in both taste and shape but are high in protein, so you won’t need too many to fill you up.  Prawns, when drizzled with plenty of lemon juice, become much more flavoursome.

Prawns,In,Mayonnaise,On,Granary,Bread,With,Salad

Traditionally everything is ‘small’ for afternoon tea, and these can be sliced into bite-sized portions.  It’s much healthier to use whole grain bread rather than white, which is refined and stripped of most nutrients, plus brown bread seems to work much better with prawns in terms of flavour.  As you’ve used plenty of lemon juice, the need for too much mayonnaise is reduced, hence this dish is pretty healthy, and, importantly, enjoyable.

Rainbow wraps

Eating a rainbow diet is what we should all aim for.  This means having loads of colour variety in your diet as colour equals nutrients. Wraps tend to much better tolerated by the digestive system as they are lower in gluten.  There are also plenty of options for gluten-free wraps.

Vegan,Tortilla,Wrap,,Roll,With,Grilled,Vegetables.

So, these rainbow wraps deliver on all fronts and can easily be sliced into small portions and arranged on your tea table.   Simply shred some red cabbage and sprinkle with loads of lemon juice and leave for about 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, chop some red peppers, carrot, and spring onion (if desired). Spread the wrap with hummus of your choice, add the cabbage and other vegetables, and you’ve not only added colour to the table, but you’ve ticked some boxes in terms of nutrients too.  All colourful fruits and vegetables naturally provide plenty of antioxidants which help protect the body.

Afternoon tea doesn’t need to contain loads of fat and calories but can still be a healthy treat that all the family will enjoy.

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Pack some of nature’s medicine cabinet for a healthier holiday

CLose up of smiling woman on the beach enjoying her holiday

We all look forward to our holidays and time away from the stresses and strains of life.  However, travelling itself or just a change of water, food or routine can sometimes play havoc with our health. 

The good news is that nature always has our back in this respect; if you know what to pack there are a range of natural supplements which can help ensure you stay well.

Clinical Nutritionist Suzie Sawyer shares her five top choices to take on holiday, chosen from nature’s medicine cabinet.

 

Sleep peacefully with valerian

Sleep can often be disrupted when on holiday even if you haven’t travelled across time zones. The heat can impact how well we sleep. Or perhaps your holiday location might not provide the quiet retreat you were hoping for.

Woman asleep in bedHelp is at hand in the form of the herb valerian. Used for many hundreds of years as a traditional remedy for sleep disorders, it’s perfect and easy to pack in supplement form in your suitcase.  Valerian works on one of our soothing neurotransmitters, GABA, to also help feelings of calm, and it doesn’t cause drowsiness the next day.

Probiotics to soothe digestion

Probiotics are the trillions off good bacteria that live in our digestive tract and are so very important for overall health.  However, sometimes these guys get upset and imbalanced and then digestive issues can arise.  This can often happen on holiday, sometimes in the form of unpleasant diarrhoea.

Close up on woman's stomach with hands making a heart shape to show a healthy tummy

It’s certainly worth taking a course of probiotics in supplement form before holiday.  Or alternatively, you can load up on probiotic-feeding foods such as garlic, ginger, asparagus, artichoke, green tea, and other fibrous vegetables.

However, do pack a particular probiotic called saccharomyces boulardii which is great for helping to ease traveller’s diarrhoea.  It’s available in supplement form and can be taken long-term too.

Beat the bugs with vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of our key immune-boosting nutrients.  Unfortunately, flights, travel stress, a little too much alcohol, and a new environment can often leave us more vulnerable to colds and infections.  This is where vitamin C comes in.

shutterstock_114498919 woman cold flu Oct16It’s worth packing some effervescent vitamin C tablets and start taking them at the first sign of coughs and sneezes, repeating every few hours. The sooner you start taking it, the more effective it will be.  Some people find their bowels become looser when using it which is perfectly normal.  Vitamin C is quickly excreted from the body which is why it’s best to take it regularly throughout the day.

 

Also load up on plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, all of which contain some Vitamin C.

Calming Aloe vera for sunburn

Unfortunately, we can often be too enthusiastic when it comes to sunbathing.  Plus, pesky mosquitos can often be an annoyance.  This is where soothing aloe vera gel comes to the rescue.

Woman,With,Sun,Protection,Cream,On,Her,Shoulder,In,The

Another remedy that’s been used for centuries, aloe vera is the perfect antidote for any skin issues.  It can also help with dandruff and an itchy scalp.  Even better, Cleopatra used to call aloe vera ‘The Elixir of Youth’ .  She had amazing skin which she attributed to using aloe vera.  So, you may come back from holiday looking 10 years younger too!

Banish bacteria with tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is one of those remedies that has such a range of uses, it really needs to find its way into your suitcase.

Sports,Injury,Painful,Scratches,And,Open,Wounds,On,Leg,Of

Tea tree is a natural antibacterial agent so you can disinfect anything with it; you can spray it around you on planes or public transport if people are coughing and sneezing or onto any cuts, scrapes, bruises or fungal infections …. the list goes on!

Avoid spraying down the throat or into the ears, but other than that it’s pretty safe to use.

With a little extra precaution, and a few natural remedies, you can have a trouble-free vacation!

 

FOR MORE GREAT NUTRITION AND LIFESTYLE ADVICE:

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Follow us on Instagram @feelaliveuk or on Twitter @feelaliveuk for nutrition, lifestyle and well-being tips.

Visit us at www.feelaliveuk.com for the latest offers and exclusive Alive! content.

Follow and Chat with Suzie on Twitter @nutritionsuzie

For everything you need to know about vitamins, minerals and herbs visit our sister site Herbfacts

All images: Shutterstock