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Wearing a mask, sanitising surfaces and washing your hands regularly are vital steps in reducing the spread of the coronavirus and other germs. But what about protection that comes from the inside out? Your body’s immune system is your first line of defence against infection.
Fill your plates with immune-boosting nutrients
One of the best ways to boost the immune system and stay healthy is to eat a nutritious diet. Our immune systems rely on a steady supply of nutrients to do their job. If you can fill half your family’s plate with seasonal vegetables and fruit, you’re off to a great start!
What’s in season during winter?
- Pawpaws or Papayas
- Broad beans
- Brussels sprouts
- Jerusalem artichokes
- Kale & spinach
Back-to-School Lunchbox Booster
Healthy Vegetable Savoury Muffins with Seasonal Fruit Salad
FREEZER-FRIENDLY SAVOURY MUFFINS
- 2 cups wholewheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- sea salt and pepper, to season
- 60 grams butter, melted and slightly cooled
- ½ cup milk
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup shredded spinach or kale
- ½ cup cubed butternut (cooked)
- 1 cup canned corn kernels, drained
- 1 1/3 cups grated cheese
- Preheat oven to 180C and line a 12 hole muffin tin with papers.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
- Place the butter, milk and eggs into the well of the flour and whisk until just combined.
- Gently fold through the vegetables and cheese.
- Evenly divide the mixture between the prepared tray.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a skewer inserted removes cleanly.
Serve with a seasonal fruit salad made with chopped apples, pears, oranges, pineapple, and any other winter fruits. Sprinkle on some nuts and seeds for an extra omega boost!
As we know, washing hands properly is a great first step in preventing unhealthy bacteria from spreading. Equally important is thoroughly cleaning your fruit and vegetables. Try this simple DIY spray or wash:
DIY Fruit and Veggie Spray
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons baking soda (bicarb)
- 1 cup water
Mix the lemon juice, baking soda, and water in a spray bottle. Spray the produce and let it sit for 2–5 minutes. Lightly scrub produce with a clean sponge or brush. Rinse produce in cool water and pat dry with a clean towel.
DIY Fruit and Veggie Wash
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons salt
- Water to fill a sink or large bowl
Fill a clean sink or large bowl with water. Mix in vinegar and salt and stir until the salt has dissolved. Soak produce for 15–20 minutes. Rinse produce in cool water and pat dry with a clean towel.
BUT – wait to wash
Wash your vegetables just before you cut and cook them to avoid losing water-soluble vitamins and minerals.
The way you cook your food will also affect the amount of nutrients gained. Here are some of the best and worst ways to cook your veggies.
As a general rule, keep cooking time, temperature and the amount of liquid to a minimum when cooking vegetables. Steaming them is a good way of doing this.
When in doubt, use the microwave. Microwaving uses little water and heats veggies quickly, preserving nutrients such as Vitamin C that break down when heated.
Saute, don’t fry
Sauteing in healthy cooking oil such as extra-virgin olive oil maximises flavour, and may even help increase the absorption of phytonutrients.
Roasting and baking
Add some healthy fat when roasting and baking. This helps your body absorb some of the fat-soluble nutrients and vitamins found in vegetables.
Boiling is on the bottom of the pile when it comes to cooking methods, as nutrients leach into the water. One exception is carrots, since boiling and steaming them increases the levels of beta carotene. Another exception is if you’re going to be drinking the liquid your veggies are boiled in, such as a soup.
TOP TIP #1
Where possible, cook vegetables whole to preserve water-soluble vitamins and nutrients. Otherwise, be sure to cut them into large, uniform pieces that will cook evenly.
TOP TIP #2
Get safe and speedy fruit and veg deliveries from NetFlorist
NetFlorist now offers the safe and timeous delivery of fresh produce, ensuring that your fruit and veggies arrive as fresh and as delicious as the day they were picked. Stay safe by ordering from home, and have your fresh produce delivered to your door within 24 hours. You will also earn Edu-Time Points with your order!
- NetFlorist practices practical personal hygiene in order to ensure the general food safety of all fresh produce that is delivered.
- Warehouses and vehicles are cooled to keep produce looking appetising.
- Regulated temperatures maintain the highest quality.
- All fresh produce is kept safe and well-shaded during transportation, keeping the sunlight out and all the moisture in.
- To be extra safe, NetFlorist does not handle stock, as all fruits and veggies are packed by the supplier.
Netflorist’s range of fresh produce includes:
- Seasonal fruit
- Seasonal vegetables
- Seasonal fruit & vegetable combos
- Fruit baskets
Remember to click the School-Days Earn Button when you check out so that you also get Edu-Time Points for your chosen beneficiary.
Ts & Cs apply.