A LITTLE GUIDE: Healthy Winter Foods

THE FIND Guide To Healthy Winter Foods

Hello Winter! With the coldest season officially upon us, Nutritional Therapist and founder of Purple Carrot Nutrition, Pilar Manzanaro gives us the low down on what we should be feasting on this season...

Cozy nights in and wholesome warming food, this is why we love you winter!

I can't be the only one loving the cosy nights in and all the wholesome, warming food? As the nights draw in, there is nothing more comforting than a bowl of home-made soup or slow-cooked stew. Luckily, winter produce is the perfect addition to any steaming bowl of food - My current favourite? Adding a generous handful of chopped kale to my chicken soup just a couple of minutes before the cooking is done - off the heat and with the lid on to preserve nutrients and texture. Yuuuum!

At PurpleCarrot we encourage our clients to eat as seasonally as possible all year round, and in winter, eating seasonally means feasting on green leafy veggies like kale and cabbage which are packed with antioxidants including glucosinolates that help protect us against cancer and beta-carotene that support eye health. But that’s not all, they also provide plenty of vitamin C, needed for collagen formation and therefore fundamental for gorgeous skin, and loads of fibre to keep our guts healthy during the festive season.

Winter brassicas include broccoli, sprouts, cabbage, kale and even the humble cauliflower, and are some of my all-time favourite veggies because they can help the liver eliminate toxins; which during the party season can only be a good thing, right!?

THE FIND | Guide to Winter Foods | Purple Carrot Nutrition

Fruit in the winter is not nearly as abundant as in the summer but citrus fruit, such as apples and pomegranates are at their best and bursting with antioxidants, especially vitamin C that supports our immune system during the colder months when those nasty cold and flu bugs are out to get us!

Pomegranates are always part of my Christmas menu. I add them to desserts and salads for a touch of colour and because those little seeds contain a huge amount of antioxidants, including my favourite, anthocyanins which are also present in purple carrots (I know, I HAD to mention it)! And can help protect our skin and other tissues against collagen breakdown.

THE FIND | Guide to Winter Foods | Purple Carrot Nutrition

Now, shall we talk about sugar? Well, we kind of have to because in the winter months sugar can be particularly detrimental to health as it lowers our immunity for up to a whopping 5 hours - the last thing you need at Chrismas, right? So, moderation is the key and also try to have sweets as part of a balanced meal to reduce blood sugar highs and lows.

THE FIND | Guide to Winter Foods | Purple Carrot Nutrition

Easy Winter Warmer Recipe - Warm quinoa and pomegranate salad


  • 100g Quinoa
  • 150g Puy Lentils
  • 2 tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 2 Handfuls Chopped flat parsley, mint, chives, etc
  • 1 tsp Refined olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp Sumac
  • 1 pomegranate
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • Wash the quinoa under running water to remove their natural coating of bitter saponins.
  • Put quinoa in a pan and dry-toast until dry.
  • Add twice the volume of water and bring to the boil.
  • Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on.
  • Remove from the heat and leave covered until all liquid has been absorbed.
  • Cook the lentils until tender but with still al dente. Drain and reserve.
  • Deseed the pomegranate. Reserve.
  • Once the lentils & quinoa have cooled down a little, mix them in a large serving bowl, add the extra-virgin olive oil, the minced garlic and the lemon juice.
  • Mix well while the ingredients are still warm.
  • Once cool, add the sumac and chopped herbs.
  • Scatter the pomegranate seeds over the salad and serve.

If you make the salad ahead of time and keep in the fridge, ensure you allow it to get back to room temperature before serving.

This salad is delicious for a light lunch but also served alongside baked salmon or grilled chicken.

THE FIND | Guide to Winter Foods | Purple Carrot Nutrition


Zhang Y Talalay P (1994) Anticarcinogenic activities of organic isothiocyanates: chemistry and mechanisms Cancer Research 54 (7 supplements) 1976s–1981s

Ahmed FA Ali RF (2013) Bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity of fresh and processed white cauliflower Biomed Research International (online) last accessed 30 11 13 at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3793502/

James D Devaraj S Bellur P Lakkanna S Vicini J Boddupalli S (2012) Novel concepts of broccoli sulforaphanes and disease: induction of phase II antioxidant and detoxification enzymes by enhanced-glucoraphanin broccoli Nutrition Reviews 70 11 654-65

Wang LS Stoner GD (2008) Anthocyanins and their role in cancer prevention Cancer Letters 269 2

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