Grey skies and cold temperatures can leave us all feeling a bit low over the cooler months, so this winter the 5+ A Day Charitable Trust are encouraging Kiwi families to brighten up their day by choosing delicious, seasonal fruit for a super healthy, on-the-go snack.
Dr Dane Rua, 5+ A Day Charitable Trust partner and GP says that New Zealand fruit is a smart choice for extra energy in between meals and the ideal alternative to packaged and processed foods.
“Fruit really is nature’s perfect snack - it even comes with its own wrapping and is so easy to take with you. Gold or Green kiwifruit are a great example, tamariki love them halved for an after-school snack in the car on the way to sports practice,” he says.
“Eating in season is the best way to get value and high nutrition content from your fresh produce. Including just two servings of fruit each day will help us to stay healthy no matter what the weather,” he says.
Dr Rua suggests we incorporate fresh herbs into our daily diets as well.
“We often season too much with salt and sugar. Try using fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon to add fresh healthy flavours to your meals. Adding mint to chopped oranges is a really tasty combination or try adding tamarillo, thyme and rosemary for a richly flavoured casserole,” he suggests.
Dr Rua says winter fruit such as kiwifruit, lemons, Navel oranges and tamarillos provide important immunity support.
“Fresh New Zealand grown fruit are one of the best sources of the nutrients we need to stay healthy. They’re packed full of vitamins, antioxidants, fibre and water that all help to support repair and recovery, immunity, energy levels, and mental wellbeing” he says.
The level of fructose in fruit has led some shoppers to believe they shouldn’t have fruit as a snack, but this is misleading, and Dr Rua encourages whanau to utilise nature’s super foods wherever they can.
“Fructose is different to other sugars. It has a lower glycaemic load than refined sugars such as those found in cakes, soft drinks and sweets. A lower glycaemic load simply means that it releases more slowly into the body and minimises sugar spikes. This helps to provide energy to your body over time and lessen the negative effects that you get from erratic blood sugar levels,” he says.
“Fruit also contains many other important nutrients like fibre and vitamins, so a piece of fruit is going to give you many other health benefits too. Just be careful of fruit juices as these can contain very high concentrations and can overload your body unnecessarily,” says Dr Rua.