Nutrition: Shake up your shopping trolley in 2024 with a seasonal selection

Jane McClenaghan encourages us all to have a post-Christmas kitchen clear out this January

A trug of home-grown vegetables (Alamy Stock Photo)

January is a fresh new start, and whether or not you have made new year’s resolutions, it is a time to get back to our healthy habits.

These next few days are the perfect opportunity to get yourself organised and back on track. Make a little time to have a kitchen clear out. Even just sorting one or two cupboards will make you feel more organised and better able to see what you’ve got and what extra ingredients you need to buy. Sort things that are out of date, or that you bought on a whim and are unlikely to eat - if they are still in date, give them to someone who will use them, or take them to the food bank trolley in your local supermarket.

Use this weekend to get yourself organised and off to a good start so that the January blues don’t hit quite so hard when you are back into your regular routine.

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Check out what’s in season

Although January can be cold, dark and grey, there are plenty of beautiful and nutritious foods in season that will nourish you through the rest of winter.

Shake up your shopping trolley and see how many seasonal veggies you can pack in. If there is something on the list below that you haven’t eaten for a while, add it to your shopping list. The more variety we can get on our plates, the better our nutrition will be.

How many of these have you eaten recently?

  • Kale
  • Parsnip
  • Oranges and grapefruit
  • Celeriac
  • Cauliflower
  • Chicory and raddichio
  • Turnip
  • Purple sprouting broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Celery
  • Leek
  • Onion
  • Cabbage
  • Beetroot
  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • Turnip
  • Shallots
Vegan stew with chickpeas, sweet potato and kale in a white bowl
Try a winter stew of sweet potato, chickpeas and kale (vaaseenaa/Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Choose a couple of new seasonal recipes

If you are fed up with the same old, same old, then shake things up a bit and have a look out for two or three new recipes to refresh your midweek menu. Try winter salads, chunky soups or seasonal stews.

Rethink your salad ingredients

If your new year’s resolution is to eat more vegetables, then get with the season. Lettuce, tomato and cucumber just won’t cut it at this time of year. Too cold, not very nutritious and totally out of season. Replace your limp salad with crunchy slaws – try shredding red cabbage, add grated carrot and grated raw beetroot, some finely sliced red onion and a delicious dressing of cider vinegar, olive oil and a touch of mustard. Perfect for January lunchboxes with some chicken, fish, tofu or halloumi. Add a wholemeal pitta or a few oatcakes and you’ve got a perfectly balance, filling, nourishing lunch.

Batch cook

If you still have a couple of days off work before you head back to the office on Monday, make some time to make a couple of one pot wonders to pack into your freezer and grace your dining table when you get back to the daily grind. If you made a soup, a chilli, a curry and a stew, that could see you though with a homecooked pot once a week right through to February.

Get planning

A little bit of menu planning will save you time, effort and money. It will also mean that you are more likely to eat better, rather than relying on a quick fix, grabbing whatever is to hand and making do with less nutritious options.

Plan for three or four days at a time. That’s enough. Any more than that and it becomes a big job. And keep things simple - in your planner, see where you could include meals as leftovers – cook once, eat twice. Plan breakfast and lunch as well as dinner, and add a couple of healthy options for snacks if you get peckish between meals. Natural yoghurt, nuts, fruit, vegetables and houmous are good.

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