It’s that time of year again as we race to try and get everything finished and organised by Christmas. I know I say this every year but THIS year has really flown. As we catch up with friends and family, we think about what’s happened over the past year, has it been a good one or not for our family, our work and just as importantly our health.
This year in particular I feel a shift in attitude with respect to nutrition. To me it seems that so many people are more nutritionally aware than ever before.
I accept that there is nutrition confusion out there and I am sorry to see some people unnecessarily restricting their diet and being carb-phobic and grain-averse.
Nonetheless, at least there has been a move away from ‘fake food’ and a move back to foods as close to the natural source as possible, with more emphasis on vegetables.
I love the fact that cafes, restaurants and finally pubs and clubs are serving healthier foods, with vegetables taking their rightful place as heroes on the plate. It’s great to see kale and chia and quinoa become staples; and cauliflower and zucchini experiencing a revival, even if it is at the expense of rice and pasta respectively.
I know there is still need for improvement in our diet. We need to eat and drink less of the discretionary items like alcohol, sugary foods and drinks and the usual suspects that are not that good for us, like processed meats and fat-laden burgers and fries etc.
However, as I have always maintained, it’s what you put on your plate that has far more bearing than what you remove from your plate - and everything in moderation!
Whatever you are doing this festive season, remember to enjoy life and be thankful for the wonderful country we live in.
Enjoy the fruits of the season, like the scrumptious cherries, summer stone fruits like apricots, nectarines and peaches, along with tropical fruits like pineapple and mangoes. And not forgetting the fruits that really give you great nutritional value per kilojoule - the berries - they are magnificent at this time of year and so affordable now.
We need to make every mouthful count – whatever you eat most of the time should give you some ‘nutritional high’ whether it be energy, vitality, brain power, positive mood or super health.
I hope you all enjoy a happy festive season and a healthy 2016!
And here’s my favourite seasonal recipe that I make every year for Christmas. You too might like it:
A delicious dessert made from luscious summer berries. Serves 6
3 cups mixed berries (eg. raspberries, strawberries, loganberries, blueberries, blackcurrants, gooseberries)
Add a little sugar, but not too much. The berries are very sweet at this time of year.
8 slices bread, crusts removed or pannetone. I prefer a pannetone (Italian Christmas bread)
- Remove stalks from the fruit and slice the strawberries. Wash fruit and put it with a little sugar in a pan.
- Cover and cook gently for 5-10 minutes or until fruit is tender. Drain off the juice, reserving 6 tablespoons.
- Line a 1 litre pudding basin with some of the bread slices, cutting them to fit the basin exactly.
- Spoon in the fruit, packing it in well. Pour in the reserved juice. Place the remaining bread on top of the fruit.
- Cover with a plate, small enough to rest on the pudding itself, and place a heavy can or other weight on the plate.
- Leave the pudding overnight in the refrigerator.
- When ready to serve, turn out on a serving plate, adding additional berries as garnish.
- Serve with Jalna Low Fat Vanilla Yoghurt or Jalna Sweet and Creamy Yoghurt