’Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry! We all love a good party, a cheeky drink and the odd naughty-but-nice nibble, but sometimes the season’s excesses can leave our bodies feeling less than tip-top, at a time of year when we’d really rather be at our best.
In between the Christmas parties, pack your diet with these nutrient-rich foods to help you stay fighting fit until Boxing Day and beyond.
These humble veggies contain high levels of selenium and B vitamins riboflavin and niacin, all of which are said to be good for your immune system. They’re also a great vegetarian source of Vitamin D.
Get your mushroom fix with this hearty, comforting soup.
If you’re fighting a cold, load up on grapefruit, orange and lemon – they contain extremely high levels of vitamin C, which is said to help boost the immune system and protect cells. What’s more, eating whole fruits (as opposed to, say, juice or taking vitamin tablets) means you’ll also benefit from their fibre, and feel fuller for longer.
Try this vibrant winter salad. Feel free to mix up the citrus fruits as you like, swapping in grapefruit or clementine.
They may have a bit of a bad reputation, but health-wise, it’s well worth putting them on the menu for more than just one day of the year. These little round numbers contain high levels of glucosinolate compounds, said to help the body detoxify. Still not a fan? Consider opting for sprout tops, which have a milder flavour, but all the same nutritional properties. Cook them in the same way you would spinach or kale: simply wilted and dressed with a little lemon juice and olive oil.
Give your sprouts a Sicilian vibe in this elegant veggie side dish. Roasting them will bring out their natural sweetness, and a pinch of saffron takes things to the next level.
Packed with protein, natural yoghurt is a filling option for breakfast or an afternoon snack – meaning you’ll be less tempted to load up on party food later. It also contains lactic bacteria, known to support your immune system.
Try this minty yoghurt dip for a party-friendly snack that kids will love, too.
This really is an all-round nutritional powerhouse – it contains a winning combination of vitamin C (good for the immune system), vitamin K (to help strengthen bones) and folate, which is known to help with cell reproduction.
Try this nourishing broccoli and boiled egg salad from the new issue of Jamie magazine.
Okay, so a high dose of garlic might not make you the most popular person at the Christmas party, but this flavour-filled veggie is a wonder ingredient in the nutrition stakes. It contains allicin, vitamin C and B6, all of which are thought to be good for preventing colds and reducing blood pressure.
Up the comfort factor with this creamy Spanish-style roasted almond and garlic soup.
If you’ve overdone it the night before, ginger is heralded for its calming, stomach-settling properties, and is often used as a natural car-sickness remedy. It’s also an anti-inflammatory and a good source of manganese and potassium.
Pack ginger into your brekkie with this super-nutritious smoothie.
Pack in a few more of your 5-a-day with this smashing smoothie
It may seem obvious, but ensuring you drink enough H20 is more important than ever at this time of year. Two thirds of our body is made up of water, so staying hydrated is crucial for pretty much everything we do, as well as ensuring we don’t overeat, having mistaken thirst for hunger. When you’re consuming more alcohol than usual, water is doubly important. Alcohol is a diuretic, so drinking excessively can make us very dehydrated. Aim to have a glass of water for each alcoholic drink you have – you’ll thank us in the morning!
Give your water a fruity twist with these easy ideas for natural flavourings.
For more brilliant festive recipe ideas, check out the latest issue of Jamie magazine.