Flagging energy levels are very common at this time of year. And it often happens when you need more energy than ever especially during the festive season. Eating warming foods is also important as the weather gets colder. With the Festive Season rapidly approaching, we’re going to need all the energy we can muster to fully enjoy it!
However, help is at hand in the form of some great nutrient-packed foods to send those energy levels soaring!
Clinical Nutritionist, Suzie Sawyer, shares five great energising foods and how to include them in warming dishes this December.
Beetroot really can take a top spot when it comes to energy production. Beetroot is high in dietary nitrates which help improve physical performance, which is not just beneficial for the athletes amongst us, but for a daily boost too. Plus, beetroot is high in the B vitamin folate, essential for energy production, and beta-carotene to help support the immune system.
Beetroot is in season right now and really is an incredible superfood. Why not make an easy and delicious Borscht, which is a filling, warming and cost-effective traditional soup? It is perfect for this time of year, and also benefits from other seasonal veggies, including red cabbage.
Venison is not only a great source of protein, which can be used for energy, it’s higher in iron than other red meats. Iron is frequently deficient in UK diets and is needed for both energy and brain function. Additionally, venison is lower in fat than most other game.
Venison casserole is a wonderful winter warmer, which doesn’t take too much preparation time, and also provides the heart-health benefits of garlic, onions, mushrooms, and red wine.
Often referred to as winter squash, they provide a great source of beta carotene and vitamin E – important antioxidants. Squash provides some complex carbohydrates, delivering plenty of sustained energy.
However, as a winter warmer, any type of squash makes the perfect staple ingredient for curry: just add protein-rich chickpeas, onion, and large tomatoes. Importantly, the body not only likes foods that are physically warm to eat, but also provide a warming effect. Coriander is a great herb for the winter months and adds great flavour to any curry recipe.
Interestingly, squash is non-allergenic so makes a perfect weaning food.
We do, of course, see apples in the supermarkets all year-round, but they are harvested during the autumn months. Therefore, enjoying a deliciously warming apple recipe at this time of year is a great way to gain maximum nutritional benefits. Vitamin C is especially rich in apples which provides a good energy source.
Another great heath benefit of apples is their high pectin content. Pectin provides much-needed fibre for the digestive tract; it works as a prebiotic feeding the good gut bacteria and helps reduce cholesterol levels.
Why not use some more warming winter spices which partner so well with apples, such as nutmeg and cinnamon, stewed with some butter and sugar? Combine them either with sweet or savoury dishes, especially pork.
Potatoes are certainly one of our main go-to root vegetables during the winter months; they’re satisfying, energising and partner with everything! Indeed, mashed potato is probably one of the most favourite vegetable sides at this time of year.
They’re a rich source of carbohydrate, are low in fat and high in vitamin C, which is needed for energy and is one of our key antioxidants.
Why not use them in a warming winter tray bake with chicken pieces, onions, garlic, bacon, and sliced courgettes (another member of the squash family)? That way, you’ll lock in all the nutrients and warm the soul too.
There are so many great ways to warm the body from the inside out this season, all whilst getting a nutrition hit too!
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