As winter turns to spring, add some new fruits and veg (and wine!) to your trolley.
According to legend, the dragonfruit was created during battle when dragons would produce the fruit after breathing fire. The brightly coloured and ‘scaly‘ rind encloses sweet, juicy pulp and small black edible seeds. Dragonfruit is best eaten chilled – simply cut it in half and eat the pulp with a spoon, like a kiwifruit. They are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, and are a source of fibre. Dragonfruits can be stored for over a month in the fridge, but will only last a few days at room temperature.
This bulbous, brown-skinned root vegetable might look ordinary, but the crisp white flesh is a delicious (and less starchy) alternative to potato. Trim the leaves and stems and slice off the tough exterior before eating: the flesh can be mashed, roasted or eaten raw in salads. Look for celeriacs that are about the size of an apple and feel heavy for their size.
1/2 cup cooked celeriac = 134kJ, 4g fibre and 2.3g carbs
Three ways with celeriac
Celeriac mash: Chop and peel 1 celeriac and 4 potatoes. Boil until just soft, then drain and mash with a little skim milk. Stir through a little sautéd minced garlic and chopped parsley.
Celeriac and fennel salad: Combine baby spinach, mandarin slices, 1/2 red onion and a fennel bulb (both thinly sliced) with a celeriac cut into matchsticks. Dress with olive oil and white wine vinegar.
Celeriac soup: Roast and purée 2 chopped celeriacs. Combine with 2–3 cups hot reduced-salt stock, 1/2 cup Philadelphia Cream for Cooking and simmer. Garnish with chopped chives.
Want a delicious way to boost the vegie content of your dishes? Tuscan cabbage – which looks similar to silverbeet – is an easy way to add flavour and nutrients to soups, stews and casseroles. You can also sauté it with garlic for an easy side dish or use it to create pesto. It’s rich in antioxidants and, unlike silverbeet or spinach, doesn’t lose volume when cooked. Be sure to wash the leaves well to remove any hidden dirt, then cut the dark green leaves from the centre vein (which can be tough) and add them to your meal.
Kids’ lunchbox treats
Fresh is always best, but if you find it difficult to get your kids eating fruit – or just need new lunchbox snack ideas – there are a number of new fruit-based snacks available. All of these options have about 400kJ or less per serve and have no added artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.
Little Bellies Fruity Choo Chews: These organic mini fruit bars contain 88 per cent real fruit, have no added sugar and are low in sodium and fat.
SOS Fruit Straps: Each bar equals one piece of fruit – plus a serve of omega-3 and fibre, thanks to the chia seeds. They have no added sugar and are gluten-, dairy-, sulphur- and nut-free.
Food For Health Food for Kids Snack Bars: These yummy bars are also nut-, gluten- and sulphur-free and contain chia, making them high in fibre.
SPC Fruit Squeezies: These contain 99 per cent fruit and are gluten-, wheat-, dairy- and nut-free. Freeze them for a cool treat!
For those who love the odd tipple, there’s another entrant into the rapidly growing lower-alcohol wine market. The Summer Hues range from Miranda Wines is not only lower in alcohol, it’s also low GI and lower energy (around 30 per cent lower than standard wines). But remember – just because your glass of wine contains less alcohol and fewer kJ, that doesn’t mean you should drink more of it. The recommended limit is two ’standard drinks’ of wine (150ml each) per day, with at least two non-drinking days per week.