This is the time of year when so many people get sick. After the frantic madness of getting ready for Christmas, all the rich foods and boozy eggnog, plus the fallout from an ice storm, it’s not surprising our immune systems might be vulnerable. With that in mind here are some recipes to help get you back on track and in tip top shape for ringing in the new year.
The simplest thing you can do is to stay hydrated – drink lots of water and keep snacking on clementines. H2O and vitamin C will do wonders. Let’s start with soups – warming and comforting, a well made soup is a welcome meal on a frosty day. Ming Tsai’s Lemongrass Coconut Chicken Soup is one of my favourites, the touch of sambal gives it a fiery kick. The secret to Bonnie Stern’s Chicken Noodle Soup? Don’t skimp on the chicken! Rachael Ray recently had Jamie Foxx in her kitchen and he shared his family recipe for Tortilla Soup, he makes it extra spicy and garnishes with fresh guacamole and sour cream.
Why not take a break from the snacks that don’t do anything except fill you up? Indulge in snacks that will go to work for you – apples, celery sticks, grapes and almonds are all going to help you build up your defenses. Granola bars, pretzels, chips and jelly beans are not going to keep the flu bugs away.
We don’t think about salad at this time of year but it’s obviously an easy way to add lots of raw vegetables to a meal. Just think how healthy you’d feel if you had a crisp green salad with every meal? As long as you’ve got a good selection of veggies in your crisper you can throw together a different combination each time – carrots, cucumbers, bean sprouts, broccoli, snow peas, red cabbage, fennel, apples, cherry tomatoes, avocado, cauliflower, edamame, sweet peppers, corn niblets, garbanzo beans…Add some olives, nuts or cheeses and you’ve got a delicious salad to serve with lunch or supper.
Now let’s move on to proteins – lots of fatty meat is not what you want to be loading up on right now. Fat in your fish is a good thing though. Now before you turn your nose up at sardines just take a look at this nutritional breakdown – they are truly a superfood!
This recipe from Gordon Ramsay for Spaghetti with Sardines features canned sardines and makes a delicious pasta dish for a main course. Jamie Oliver serves a crispy filet of trout in this recipe for Rainbow Trout with Horseradish Yogurt, plus, the addition of balsamic beets amps up the healthy factor.
My rule of thumb is to always make sure you’ve got at least one green thing on your plate – cabbage, kale, chard, collards. Stock up on greens and sautée or steam some for every meal. Get lots of liquids, oily fish, up your salad content and don’t skimp on the chicken in your chicken noodle soup!