Spring into good health with 5+ A Day

Published: Mon 8 Sep 2014 02:14 PM
For immediate release
8th September 2014
Spring into good health with 5+ A Day
Spring’s wide selection of vibrant produce makes it easy for Kiwis to create healthy, tasty and affordable meals.
5+ A Day recommends buying in-season produce, as it is bursting with flavour, nutrients and is excellent value. Brightening up your plate with spring produce is a sure-fire way of getting a good dose of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Oranges, tangelos, avocados, courgettes, new potatoes and mushrooms are just some of the produce to enjoy over the spring months.
Nutritionist Carmel Trubuhovich from the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation says there is compelling scientific evidence that a diet high in fruit and vegetables can reduce the risk of many diseases.
“Eating fruits and vegetables is a tried and true recommendation for a healthy diet, and for good reason,” she says. “Fresh produce is low in energy and full of fibre, which helps to fill you up. Also, eating plenty of fruit and vegetables can help ward off a host of diseases, including heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer.”
Here is 5+ A Day’s guide on how to spring into summer with fresh seasonal recipes.
Oranges and tangelos
New Zealand-grown oranges and tangelos are good sources of vitamin C, potassium and fibre. Navel oranges are usually seedless and larger than other oranges. Tangelos are a cross between a mandarin and grapefruit and were introduced to New Zealand in the 1950s.
How to buy: Look for bright orange, firm, fragrant fruit.
How to store: Oranges and tangelos can be stored either in or out of the fridge. Take advantage of times when they are in plentiful supply by preparing and freezing some for later. Whole citrus fruit should not be frozen but you can refrigerate or freeze the fresh squeezed juice and grated peel or zest. Use frozen grated peel as needed to provide zest to recipes.
Quick citrus recipes: Make a tangy side salad by combining orange segments, sliced red onion, avocado and watercress or baby spinach leaves with apple cider vinegar. Chop and toss segments with toasted almonds and rosewater essence in a bowl. Serve with Greek-style natural yoghurt. Combine cooked couscous with navel orange segments, chopped pineapple, a little ground cinnamon, chopped nuts, and a generous handful of chopped fresh coriander.
New potatoes
Potatoes are our most popular vegetable, with 97 percent of Kiwis eating them. New potatoes are versatile, delicious and work well with different flavours and seasonings. For maximum nutrition from any potato, leave the skin on: the skin and the layer immediately underneath contain both fibre and antioxidants.
How to buy: New potatoes skin will rub off with your thumb -- it should be delicate enough to scrape clean. Natural dirt can keep potatoes fresh so don’t clean spuds until you use them. Avoid potatoes with green patches, cuts, bruises or shoots.
How to store: Store in a cool, dry space away from sunlight. New potatoes are more perishable than mature potatoes and should be used within a few days.
Quick new potato recipes: New potatoes with fresh herbs couldn’t be simpler to make. Boil new potatoes with mint leaves. Toss when still warm with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and lots of freshly chopped mint and parsley. Serve with meat and salad. Boost the vegetable count on a pizza with new potatoes. Boil new potatoes and thinly slice. Spread a pizza base with pesto, top with potatoes and a little fresh mozzarella. Grill until the cheese melts. Make a tasty salad by combining warm, boiled new potatoes with flaked smoked salmon, baby spinach leaves, capers and finely diced red onion. Dress with a light vinaigrette.
Low in calories and sodium, mushrooms are a good source of several B vitamins, selenium and potassium. Several nutrients in mushrooms are important for supporting growth and development in children.
How to buy: Choose mushrooms that feel firm to the touch and have minimal blemishes on the caps.
How to store: Mushrooms are best stored unwashed in brown paper bags in the fridge. Alternatively use a cloth bag or clean tea towel to wrap them.
Quick mushroom recipes: For a tasty addition to an antipasto platter, marinate whole mushrooms in crushed garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and chilli flakes. Rocket pesto-filled mushrooms make a quick mid-week meal. Whizz together rocket, garlic and olive oil. Add breadcrumbs and mix well. Spread rocket mixture across the mushrooms and sprinkle with a little parmesan cheese. Bake until cheese is golden and melted. Meaty portobello mushrooms make a great alternative to beef patties. Drizzle with a little olive oil and grill until cooked. Serve the mushrooms in grilled cheese buns with a dollop of chilli jelly and rocket leaves.
This pear-shaped fruit has a nutty, creamy taste that can be used in a host of dishes from dips to salads.
How to buy: Avoid squeezing avocados to check ripeness as this causes bruising. You can tell the ripeness by looking at the colour. A bright green and olive green avocado means it’s not quite ripe. Brown green to dark brown means it is ready to eat.
How to store: Uncut ripe fruit can be stored in the fridge for up to three days. To store a cut avocado, sprinkle with lemon juice, lime juice or white vinegar and place in an air-tight container in the fridge. They should be eaten within a day or two. Avocado can be puréed with lemon juice and frozen for up to four months.
Quick avocado recipes: For a breakfast smoothie place half an avocado, 1 banana, 1 cup trim milk and 1 tablespoon of honey in a blender. Whizz until smooth. Make a simple guacamole by mashing avocados with lemon juice. Add some finely chopped red onion, chilli, tomato, garlic and fresh coriander. Combine, chill and serve with pita crisps or corn chips. For a lunchtime salad, mix together chopped smoked chicken breast, cherry tomatoes, avocado, cucumber and salad greens. Toss with a little balsamic vinegar and lemon juice.
Kale is a member of the cabbage family and is considered king of the dark, leafy green vegetables. Kale comes in several different varieties, and is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K. It is also a good source of calcium, fibre and antioxidants and may support eye, liver, bone and digestive health.
How to buy: Choose moist-looking, dark-green leaves, and pass on yellow, wilted ones.
How to store: Rinse kale in cool water as soon as you get it home—this helps preserve freshness. Leave water droplets clinging to the rinsed kale leaves before wrapping them in paper towels and sealing them in plastic. They’ll keep in the fridge for three days.
Quick kale recipes: Kale can be used in salads, sides and smoothies. For a tropical green smoothie, take 2 chopped de-stemmed kale leaves, 2 cups of chopped fresh pineapple, 1 peeled kiwifruit and ¼ cup of fresh mint leaves. Add enough ice and water to cover. Blend until smooth, adding more water if needed. Supercharge an omelette or frittata by adding chopped kale to sautéed onions, mushroom, capsicum, chopped fresh herbs and crumbled feta cheese. For a low-fat snack baked kale chips are a great option. Wash and de-stem kale leaves and tear into pieces. Lightly brush with olive oil, place on a baking tray and bake for 7-10 minutes. Sprinkle with a little seasalt to season.
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