News — comfortfood

Eating Seasonally: Winter

It’s nearly June, which means winter is nearly upon us here in Queensland. Characterized by frosty mornings, early sunsets and chilly nights, the cooler months call for hearty dishes to keep you warm and nourished all winter long. 

You may think that the range of winter fruits and vegetables is limited, but with a bit of creativity and preparation, you can enjoy fresh, local produce all season long. With a Wholesomeness meal delivery, we have done all the hard prep for you – we source fresh, local seasonal produce to create tasty winter dishes that are packed with nutrition and maximum flavour. Winter is all about comforting foods that are warming, cozy and satisfying. Think flu-fighting soups, winter one-pots, hearty stews and roast root vegetables.  

Fruits and vegetables flourish at certain times of the year, however grocery stores stock just about everything all year round, which makes it easy to forget what’s in season and what’s not. A good tip is to take a walk around your local farmer’s market and see what kinds of produce are available – these will usually be the ones that are in season at that time.

There are many benefits to eating seasonally.  The food is at its freshest, tastes the best, is best for you, is more sustainable, and is usually cheaper. It also allows us to get back to the roots of local and sustainable eating, by supporting local businesses and our local community as a whole.  

Seasonal fruits and veggies that have been allowed to fully ripen on the plant and picked at the peak of freshness are better quality and higher in nutrition compared to produce that is picked unripe and then transported to different areas or countries. Therefore, eating local sustainable produce allows for maximum nutrition that is tailored to your local environment.

In winter, many people often lack vitamin D due to the increased time spent indoors. Mushrooms are often at their peak during winter, and they contain excellent sources of vitamin D (see our previous blog post on mushrooms and vitamin D here). Mushrooms are such a versatile ingredient, with the potential to add a delicious savoury and warm umami flavour to so many dishes. We love using them in our Mushroom Bourguignon with Mash and Green Beans, and our Mushroom, Spinach and Truffle Risotto with Broccoli and Pepitas.

During winter, we also need extra vitamin C to keep our immune system strong and to help fight off colds and flu quicker. Winter citrus fruits like navel oranges, mandarins, grapefruits, lemons and limes all contain amazing sources of vitamin C and antioxidants. Winter fruits also often last a lot longer than the soft summer fruits, which means less food wastage and more value for your money.

Eating foods that are in season gives you the opportunity to appreciate the foods that are available, and allows for more variety in your diet as seasonal foods are constantly shifting – a wonderful cycle that allows you to experience each food.

What veggies are in season this winter? Print out our handy list of winter seasonal veggies and hang it on your fridge!

Emotional Eating During the Coronavirus Isolation: Why you may be having some extra munchies during this period

We have all experienced times in our life where we have turned to food to provide us with some comfort. Known as ‘emotional eating’, it can take a lot of different forms, from stress eating, to boredom eating, to sad eating. You may be feeling these emotions (plus others, like general uncertainty) to an extra high degree than normal during the current COVID-19 pandemic (which is completely normal, see our last article on ways to keep calm during the COVID-19 pandemic) and it may be causing you to turn to food for comfort and to help take the weight off the current situation.

 But why are we prone to emotional eating during isolation?

Well, first of all, isolation means we are home a lot more, which means we are around food a lot more (without anyone watching). The food in our pantry, in our fridge and freezer, the cake that you may have iso-baked that’s sitting on the counter in full view. If you are now working at home, it’s a big change to suddenly have a kitchen full of food in close proximity to your working space, and can be very distracting! Even if you are not working, not being able to fill your day with activities away from the home means more time spent at home, around food, and this can be very challenging for some people.

Secondly, research shows that comfort foods are in fact comforting to us. For example, a 2006 study published by Physiology & Behavior found that sweet, high calorie comfort foods can provide mood improvements in certain populations. One way they do this is by producing endorphins, which helps to promote feelings of bliss and happiness. But comforting foods that delight our senses and make us feel good don’t have to be only the unhealthy ones, they can also include foods like chilli, bananas, nuts and oranges.

Thirdly, choosing what we want to eat can sometimes give us some control, especially right now when we might be feeling disrupted and without structure to our day. Combined with increased feelings of stress and uncertainty, comfort foods that are high-calorie and low in nutrition (like snacky, junky foods) may be the foods that you are choosing. The message is not about how to avoid those comforting foods, but how you can safely and in a healthy way incorporate some of those foods into your life, without feeling like you need them when you are feeling vulnerable. Plus, who ever said that healthy food can’t be comforting? A slice of cake is nice, but there’s nothing better than a warm bowl of massaman curry with fluffy quinoa and crispy green beans! What are your favourite healthy ‘comfort’ foods or meals? 

Stay tuned next week for some different ways that you can curb those home isolation munchies.



E.L. Gibson. Emotional influences on food choice: sensory, physiological and psychological pathways. Physiol. Behav., 89 (2006), pp. 53-61