Lee Holmes shares why you should eat according to the seasons

written by Lee Holmes

Lee's Chai Crème Brûlée Credit: Lee Holmes

Eating according to the seasons makes sense, so I encourage you to listen to the transitioning seasonal cues and shift towards eating grounding but lighter foods. My menu over winter has rotated between stews, stir-fries, curries, warming teas — and sometimes a cheeky dessert — because these foods tend to keep us toasty and cosy inside and can be so satiating that they stop us from overeating.

Have you been noticing dry or flaky skin? It may be because you haven’t been hydrated enough. While you probably didn’t feel like drinking cold water or iced teas in the chilly weather, hydrating herbal teas such as peppermint and ginger are both warming in winter and cooling in summer. Coffee and black tea, on the other hand, are diuretics, so switching over to a cup of herbal tea can really help.

Now is also the time to eat good fats. Your body needs healthy fats to help absorb certain vitamins, particularly vitamin D. Lack of sunlight through winter hibernation may have lowered your levels of vitamin D, a nutrient that strengthens bones, the immune system and heart health. When you don’t get enough vitamin D from the sun it’s important to ensure you get it from food. Eating fatty fish like tuna and salmon, egg yolks and beef liver is a great way to boost vitamin D.

Produce that’s cultivated in its season is plentiful and best when eaten in that season, as it has the chance to fully ripen and then be picked when naturally ready.

When you’re in the supermarket, don’t you find it funny how your favourite fruit and vegies can be super-cheap one season and then astronomically expensive another? If you shop at a farmers’ market, you’ll probably find they don’t even have your favourite fruits out of summer. Why? Produce that’s cultivated in its season is plentiful and best when eaten in that season, as it has the chance to fully ripen and then be picked when naturally ready.

Food grown outside of its season — like many of the fruits and vegetables you’ll find all year round in supermarkets — unfortunately relies on pesticides, waxes and chemicals to make it look fresh and in season.

What produce should you stock up on now? When it comes to fruit, I suggest looking for avocados, apples, bananas, blueberries (November) kiwifruit, grapefruit, lemons, mandarins and oranges.

The best vegetables at this time of year are artichoke, asparagus, avocado, beans, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, cucumber, leek, lettuce, peas, potato, radish, rhubarb, rocket, silverbeet, snow peas, spinach, sugar snap peas, sweet corn, tomato and zucchini.

I’d love to inspire you back into the kitchen with a lip-smacking curry and a dessert that will satisfy and delight the whole family.

Tuna Tikka Curry

Serves: 4

Ingredients

Method

  • 4 tuna steaks
  • Ghee, for frying

  • Marinade
  • 260g (1 cup) sheep’s milk yoghurt
  • 2 green chillies, seeded & chopped
  • Handful coriander leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp mustard oil
  • 1 tsp Celtic sea salt
  • ¾ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds, toasted in a dry frying pan
  1. Rinse the fish, pat dry with paper towel and place in a large shallow dish.
  2. Combine all marinade ingredients in a blender. Add this mixture to the tuna and mix gently with a spoon to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  3. Heat a little ghee in a large frying pan over medium heat or on a barbecue hotplate and cook the tuna for 4–5 mins on each side or until cooked to your liking.
  4. Serve with the in-season carrot and beetroot raita, below, and some brown rice.

Carrot & Beetroot Raita

Serves: 3–4

Ingredients

Method

  • 520g (2 cups) sheep’s milk yoghurt
  • 1 raw beetroot, peeled & grated
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small capsicum, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • Himalayan salt, to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl by mixing gently with a spoon.
  2. The raita will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3–4 days.

Chai Crème Brûlée

Makes: 4

Ingredients

Method

  • 400mL tin additive-free coconut cream
  • 125mL (½ cup) almond milk
  • 1 tbsp rice-malt syrup
  • 1 chai teabag
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods, bruised
  • ½ tsp alcohol-free vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp agar agar
  • 55g (⅓ cup) coconut sugar
  1. Combine the coconut cream, almond milk, rice-malt syrup, teabag, spices and vanilla in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to simmering point but don’t allow to boil. Simmer for 5 mins, stirring occasionally. Strain then return the liquid to the saucepan, discarding the solids.
  2. Place the agar agar in a small bowl and ladle over a little of the coconut mixture. Stir well, then slowly pour back into the saucepan, stirring well until dissolved. Pour into ramekins and refrigerate for 3–4 hours or until set.
  3. When ready to serve, cover the top with an even layer of coconut sugar and place under the grill set to high, or use a blowtorch, until a caramelised crust appears on top.


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Lee Holmes

Lee Holmes is a nutritionist, yoga and meditation teacher, wholefoods chef, Lifestyle Food Channel’s Healthy Eating Expert, blogger and author of the best-selling books Supercharged Food: Eat Your Way to Health, Supercharged Food: Eat Yourself Beautiful, Eat Clean, Green and Vegetarian, Heal your Gut, Eat Right for Your Shape and Supercharged Food for Kids.

Lee’s food philosophy is all about S.O.L.E. food: sustainable, organic, local and ethical. Her main goal is to alter the perception that cooking fresh, wholesome, nutrient-rich meals is difficult, complicated and time-consuming. From posting recipes, her passion to share her autoimmune disease story and help others has snowballed and the blog has recently taken home the overall prize at the Bupa Health Influencer Awards as well as the best blog in the Healthy Eating category. She also runs a four-week online Heal Your Gut program.