Smart ways to sip and sup this Winter Solstice


Terry Harris, a dietitian at Discovery Vitality, offers these smart tips for eating well in winter, as well as hearty recipes from the Discovery Vitality HealthyFood Studio.

Friday 21 June 2019, marked the longest night and shortest day of the year – also known as the Winter Solstice. While technically this means that the Southern Hemisphere will start enjoying more direct sunlight, it's no guarantee that the cold weather has passed us by.

This is because the Earth's oceans absorb a lot of the sun's energy, which they release slowly over time. This results in a lag between when there's the least sunlight and when the air temperatures are actually coldest. In other words, while we're moving towards summer in astronomical terms, we still have another two or so months of chilly spells to go.

Stock up on seasonal produce this winter

The good news is that avocados will still be in season for a while longer! You can make the most of local, seasonal fruit by stocking up on apples, dates, citrus fruits, melon, papayas, pears, pineapples and tomatoes.

You can also add diversity to your diet by experimenting with winter veggies, such as asparagus, broad beans, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, peas, peppers, pumpkin, radishes, spinach and squash, as well as root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, parsnips and beetroot. These foods are rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals - so not only are they more affordable, they also promote good health, which helps in boosting your body's immunity.

Terry Harris, a dietitian at Discovery Vitality, offers these smart tips for eating well in winter, as well as hearty recipes from the Discovery Vitality HealthyFood Studio:

5 tips to eat well in winter

  1. Soup is a clever way of upping your vegetable intake during winter. Add lean protein (such as beans, lentils, chickpeas or shredded chicken) and corn kernels or a wholegrain slice of bread on the side for a nourishing, balanced lunch or dinner. Try this Cannellini bean soup with spinach, tomato and chives as a tasty vegetarian option.
  2. Have oats (cooked in milk) for breakfast - it's a warm and filling way to start the day, and it'll sustain your energy levels throughout the morning. Oats is also versatile and can be enjoyed in various ways by adding different nuts or nut butters, seeds, and fruit - try these seed & oat rusks as a healthy snack.
  3. Hot milky drinks can be comforting in winter, but hold off on the sugar and skip the hot chocolate all together. If the thought of drinking glasses of cold water during the chilly months sounds unpleasant, go for hot water flavoured with lemon or unsweetened herbal teas to stay warm while keeping hydrated.
  4. Skip sugar-laden puddings and enjoy the natural sweetness of fruit instead. Good substitutes for puddings are baked apples or pears filled with nuts, or roasted pineapple or banana with a dollop of unsweetened yoghurt.
  5. You've heard of using local, seasonal ingredients, but matching your cooking methods to the climate is just as smart. Not only do you get the best out of fresh produce in terms of taste and cost, but you can warm yourself up with well-chosen cooking techniques. Here's how.

Harris adds, "It's natural to feel hungry more frequently in cold weather. Make it easier to choose healthy foods by prepping meals and snacks in advance. Go for dishes that are filling and nourishing." If you still need inspiration, try apple and granola rings or stewed winter fruit with quinoa crumble, and book a class at the Discovery Vitality HealthyFood Studio to upskill in the kitchen and fall in love with tasty, healthy eating.

Recommended for you by Vitality

Verve up your veggies

Plant-based foods are rich in many nutrients and are kinder to the environment. Embrace the abundance of the earth with the HealthyFood Studio Versatile Vegetables courses, and learn how to turn a variety of vegetables into much-loved meals.

Visit the HealthyFood Studio website

Learn to make comfort food that's healthy this winter

Want trusted recipes to help you turn winter veggies into tasty, healthy meals? Look no further than the Discovery Vitality HealthyFood Studio - an exciting teaching and dining experience located in Sandton, Johannesburg and open to the public. The Seasonal Delights - Winter course will introduce you to the abundance of the season, exploring some of the lesser known fruits and vegetables, helping you to create healthy, warming dishes for winter.

Book today to sign up for a fun and interactive cooking class that will help ignite a life-long love of healthy, appetising cooking.

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