Winter is coming... and mother nature has given us a glorious glimpse into what this next season is going to bring! The mornings have gotten frosty and the afternoons are getting cool as soon as the sun starts to lower - I hope you have been so lucky to catch some of the crisp, bluebird days and get rugged up to feel the sun on your face! It’s no doubt that the change of season brings about changes within ourselves and also how we need to care for our wellbeing over this time, so I wanted to give you some practical things you can do to support yourself this season, in all areas of your wellbeing. 

It’s no doubt that we all start to crave denser, warm foods when the weather cools down. In terms of digestion, foods are broken down in the body when they are around 37°C, so warm foods are digested a lot easier because the body doesn't have to “warm them up” first. When our body’s core temperature lowers in winter because of the cooler weather, your body craving warm, dense foods is doing three things:

  1. Increasing your core temperature by heating you from the inside out
  2. Optimising digestion by craving easily digestible foods
  3. Increasing its amount of “readily-available” energy by craving more starchy foods

All of these things are important during the cooler months as everything in our body has to work a *little bit harder* so our body is asking for a helping hand by craving these types of foods! 

My biggest secret weapon when it comes to winter-wellness is probably not what you think.. No, it is not some elaborate herbal concoction, nor a soak or even a supplement - and guess what, you probably have it in your cupboard right now… it is… a slowcooker. Yes, that's right, I am a huge fan of slow cooked meals in winter, and let me tell you why. I am BIG on functional nutrition and slowcooking your meals is an accessible way to tap into the nutritional value of each food. When foods are cooked slowly at a lower temperature, more nutrients are kept stable and ready for absorption in your gut also a lot easier to digest, and because in a slowcooker the cooking happens in a sealed container, the nutrients that are usually lost to the liquid discarded in other cooking methods, are reabsorbed back into the "sauces'' of slowcooking. Our body can really take what it needs from the food and use it to keep our health in check. The second part of my secret weapon is pairing the slowcooker with seasonal foods. 

I could geek out forever over the synchronicities of nature and how it is perfectly designed to give us the nutrients our body most needs in different seasons in the foods that grow naturally at that time of year. The grounding, antioxidant rich winter vegetables are the hearty, nutrient dense foods that give us that warm nourishing feeling we crave during the colder months. These foods are perfect for slowcooking and each have their own benefits for winter health. 

  • Broccoli, cabbage, kale, silverbeet, brussel sprouts - these are all really high in immune boosting Vitamin C (I know, surprised?) as well as vitamin K which is needed for bone health (even more important in winter when we are getting lower Vitamin D from less sun - Thanks Mama Nature, you really know what you are doing) 
  • Kumara, beetroot, carrots, pumpkin - all rich in Beta Carotene and Vitamin C which are both antioxidants that protect against inflammation and also boost immunity.
  • Onions and garlic - also both high in Vitamin C (again, surprised?) and also both show anti-inflammatory properties. Garlic is extra beneficial with its antibacterial and antiviral actions. 

And we haven't even gotten to the fruit - it is very clear in winter that citrus fruit with its high vitamin C content is exactly the fruit we need in this season! As well as fruit like persimmons. Eating seasonally is a big, yet simple thing you can do for your health - your wallet will thank you too as these foods are usually more abundant so therefore less expensive. 

I wanted to give you some meal examples here, as so often we can give you all the glorious foods or nutrients that you should be eating but you’re left wondering how that actually looks in the real world, so let me share with you a few of my personal favourite, seasonal meals I like to incorporate into my days. 


  • Oatmeal, made with warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, sultanas, grated apple, pecans. 
  • Bone Broth for a quick, easy nutritional boost, see Bone Broth Body Glue AM Cleanse 
  • Omelette with wilted greens and onion loaded with garlic 


  • Roast vegetable salad with seasonal root vegetables, pimp it with feta, cranberries, pecans and dress with a lemon juice and olive oil dressing
  • Warm pumpkin & quinoa salad with baby spinach and pumpkin seeds. Dress with a vinaigrette with a squeeze of orange juice and put some orange pieces in for a sweet surprise! 


  • Soups, stews, curries, grab that slow cooker and give it a workout!
Keep it seasonal by adding in lots of hearty root vegetables and flavour with tons of onion and garlic. Warming spices are also hugely beneficial at this time of year with their immune and circulation boosting benefits! Aside from the age old “throw it all in” slowcooker meals which, let's be real, can often all taste the same; other ways I like to use it is simply using it to slowcook meat and then combine it with steamed vege, rice, pasta etc. a slowcooked piece of lamb with two tins of cherry tomatoes, lots of onion, garlic and fresh thyme and then shredded over pasta is absolutely divine and so fast to make in the evening! 

Lentil bolognese with onion, garlic, carrot, spinach, celery (you can go crazy with veges in this!) serve with your favourite pasta. 

  • Stuffed butternut filled with your grain of choice (rice, quinoa, millet, farro) and kale or silverbeet. 

Optimising your nutrition in winter is easy when we look to nature and what our bodies naturally crave during this time!

So take some time to check in with your body and ask yourself, what would feel really nourishing to me at this time? Head along to your local farmers market for fresh, seasonal produce with those essential winter nutrients in, or look for the “in season” sign on fruit and vegetables at the supermarket. Sending warm winter blessings your way! 

Dani Lea, Naturopath, Nourished You


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