Catherine Jeans | www.thefamilynutritionexpert.com
So many of my clients come to me with worries about certain foods, news of the latest food they should be avoiding or advice on how to cut out a whole food group. Gluten free? Dairy Free? Sugar Free? Yes this is important for certain health conditions, but for most of us, we just need to focus more on good, honest, wholesome meals. So today, nothing about what you should be avoiding – it’s all about the yummy ingredients you can add to your diet to support your health.
- Parsley. Yes I know it’s gone a bit out of fashion to sprinkle parsley all over your food, but it really is one of my all time favourite superfoods. Did you know it’s packed with calcium, iron and other essential nutrients? I love to make it into pesto with basil and kale, mixed with pine nuts or walnuts, some parmesan, olive oil and garlic. Or chop up a big handful with a big handful of mint, and mix it into some cooked grains for a delicious salad.
- Quinoa. If you haven’t tried this supergrain yet, you really should! It’s packed with protein, complex carbs and loads of different vitamins and minerals,plus it’s a very sustainable crop to grow. If you think you can’t cook it, my biggest tip is to ignore the instructions that come on most packets, because you’ll turn it to mush if you over boil it. Give it a rinse, add 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of boiling water, plus another ¼ cup. Add some flavouring like fennel seeds, slices of ginger or some ripped up seaweed, and allow it to bubble for around 12 minutes. Keep checking to make sure it doesn’t need a bit more water – it’s done when the grain opens into white horse shoe shaped pieces. Take it off the heat, put on a lid and let it steam for another 5 minutes. Fluff up and serve!
- Pumpkin seeds. These green powerhouses of nutrients are one of my favourite sources of zinc, which is so important for your immune system right now. Add them to cereals and porridge, or grind them up and throw them in your baking. I also love to dry toast mine in a frying pan, once they are golden pour in some soy sauce for a delicious salad topper.
- Garlic. Good for your immune system. Good for your gut. Good for your heart. If you don’t like it raw, cook it in as many dishes as you can. I grate mine up so it’s nice and fine, and don’t fry it for too long otherwise it can go bitter. Fry your onions first, then just a minute or 2 for your garlic.
- Figs. The glorious fig season will be upon us soon, and figs are deliciously sweet and packed with goodness. Especially great for feeding your gut microbiome and getting your bowels moving, I love slicing them open, drizzling with local honey and a few squares of goats cheese.