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Eat healthily and save this winter

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Eat healthily and save this winter

Winter often brings grey and gloomy weather but it doesn't mean our health has to hit the doldrums.

The cold weather can interrupt exercise routines and trigger comfort eating, with the temptation to snack on foods high in fat and sugar hard to resist. However, staying healthy and avoiding weight gain during the chillier months is as simple as filling your shopping basket with the colourful produce that springs into season each winter.

Skipping the snack aisle in the supermarket and looking to fresh seasonal produce for ideas on how to ward off the winter blues is not only cheaper, but is better for you.

5+ A Day, in conjunction with nutritionist, Bronwen Anderson, has compared the price and fat content of healthy and unhealthy snacks.

For instance, choosing a 150ml low-fat yoghurt over a muffin saves $1.68 and 2 tsp fat, or eating an apple or orange instead of a 50g milk chocolate bar saves you 0.58 cents and 5 tsp of fat.

"At first glance, buying takeaways and processed snack food does seem cheaper than buying all the ingredients to make something at home or at work," says Bronwen.

"But with a bit of planning, knowledge and awareness, it doesn't have to cost more to eat healthily," she says.

"What our comparisons show is that by simply swapping unhealthy snacks for healthier ones saves you money and reduces the amount of fat in your diet. This isn't a drastic change, but over time, it is hugely beneficial to your health and wellbeing," says Bronwen. Fresh seasonal produce has the added bonus of helping to keep winter coughs and colds at bay.

Zinc, iron, vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium and selenium, are all essential for a healthy immune system, with vitamin C a key player in fighting infections. However, because the body cannot produce or store vitamin C it has to come from food.

Thankfully, a number of the fruit and vegetables in season during winter are very high in this immune boosting vitamin. Kiwifruit is the rock star with studies showing it is a much better source of vitamin C than supplements. Not to be overlooked for a good boost of vitamin C are mandarins, oranges, tamarillos, broccoli, parsnips and rhubarb.

"Your best bet to maintain good health this winter is to go for colour when selecting fruit and vegetables," says Bronwen.

"Colourful fruit and vegetables contain many of the vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals your body needs to maintain health, energy, fight disease and to protect from aging," she says. "Three or more servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit per day is the minimum requirement to achieving good health." For more information on healthy eating and recipes, visit 5aday.co.nz and search for 5+ A Day on Facebook to find Fredge.

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