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Tackle autumn comfort eating

I love autumn, the beautiful colours of the leaves on the tree, the new season’s foods that we can enjoy, and I find it’s a wonderful time of year to reflect on your health. But once the cooler days start drawing in, there’s nothing more tempting than curling up on the sofa with huge bowls of comfort food. Unfortunately for our waistlines, the autumn months are easy to pile on the pounds – we want to eat more, and might be drawn to the ‘wrong’ kinds of foods.

However, it’s important to remember that this time of year should be about eating nourishing, and healing foods, and also listening to your body’s needs. This doesn’t give us free reign to go crazy and to devour apple pie and custard every day! Though apple pie is delicious, you don’t need to reach for sugars or processed carbs to feel satisfied and comforted.

Instead, let’s work to care for your body, nurturing it with delicious, seasonal foods that are full of nutrients to keep you strong and fighting fit. After all, the body has to work a lot harder in the colder months! In other words, be kind to yourself, and don’t put too much pressure on you or your body – it needs nourishing more than ever.

I love how each season presents a ripe new something which we can all enjoy in our kitchens. Not only do these ripe ‘somethings’ offer fresh inspiration, but they serve up nutrients aplenty. During autumn, try to focus on foods rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, Vitamin E and zinc to protect against cold and flu, and also sluggishness that brings with it the tendency to want to hibernate. Foods that are perfect during the cooler months include kale, which is high in iron, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K and fibre, and also butternut squash, which is high in vitamin C and beta-carotene. Both go wonderfully with in salads, roasts, stews and stir-fry’s.

As well as this, load up on immune-boosting meals, such as colourful salads, hearty soup and broths that are packed full of vegetables, protein and good fats. Focusing on complex carbs too (think stuffed sweet potatoes, or homemade curries with quinoa or brown rice recipes which you can find in my book The Balance Plan) will also help give you more even energy. These dishes are comforting and nurturing, without being unhealthy, and also satisfying enough that you won’t overdo it.

If you are guilty of piling your plates too high, then make sure you eat regularly – three good meals a day, ideally with a portion of protein, good fats and vegetables at each, and only snacks in between if you really need them. You could also try sipping a homemade broth or vegetable soup before dinner to stop you from going too crazy. Be mindful, too, of why you want to eat – is it because you are emotional, or tired or are you really hungry? Do you really need that extra portion?

Another tip I like to share with my clients is to try stewing a pick of seasonal, autumnal fruits such as Blackberries, Figs or plums. You can add a dollop of this to your morning porridge or breakfast, or enjoy with yoghurt at night for dessert. By adding cinnamon, you can also help to control blood sugar spikes.

Here’s to fresh starts and healthy new seasons.

Read Angelique's article in the latest issue of Health Magazine here:

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