Suzanne Leyden, qualified nutrition, health and wellness coach and owner of The WellNow Co. outlines what's in season this month and highlights some healthy, simple and delicious recipes.

Happy New Year! January is full of hope and good intention, and there is so much to look forward to in the year ahead.

Many of us spent time over the holidays deciding on all the positive changes we are going to make in the new year, especially as we may have over-indulged a little with the feasting that is expected of us. That’s all totally fine. It’s how serious we are and how well we plan our intended changes that will determine our success.

One thing to consider of is the impact of what we eat on not just our health, but also the planet. So, if you’re going to make one change this year, think about how to eat more plants, preferably local - though this is not always possible or realistic - and ideally in season.

The nutritional impact of eating a mostly (or entirely) plant-based diet is considerable. It’s high in fibre, high in nutrients and phytonutrients that are easily absorbed and they taste great. A common issue people have is making vegetables more interesting to eat for them and their children.

Let’s make January a time to celebrate and have fun with the vegetables available to us and our kids.

As usual in this monthly series of what fruit and veg are in season in Ireland, we take a deep dive into the recipe archives of RTE and serve up some seriously delicious keepers for you and your family.

Here’s what’s in season in January in Ireland

  • Apples - cooking and eating
  • Beetroot
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Butterhead Lettuce
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Marrows
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Parsnips
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Turnips & Swedes

Succeeding with your goals
There are stats to suggest that up to 80% of new year’s resolutions fail. So, what are the things we can do to increase our chance of success? Well, making changes at the beginning of the year may feel like the right thing to do, but it equally might feel laced with pressure.

Here is very quick overview of some of the aspects to look at to establish the right goals for you:

Self-exploration - Finding out our 'why’ will help give us a better sense of purpose. The goals we then set for ourselves will be more in keeping with this and our core values. Taking an holistic view of our life will also help create balance in our approach to health and wellness and allow us to focus on areas that we might want to improve.

Motivation - Tapping into our intrinsic, or inner, motivation, and extrinsic, or external, motivation will also help us achieve our goals. Whether the changes you want to make are so that you will have more energy, live longer and your mood and overall health will be improved, these are all intrinsic motivators. Extrinsic motivators might be that you want to fit into and look incredible in a particular outfit, or if you achieve X you will buy yourself Y. Both are important aspects to success.

Mindset - With a positive, growth mindset you will be able to take on challenges, even when they become tough. How ready you are at a particular time will be important to achieving success. There’s a real argument for not taking something on if you really are not ready in that moment to do it. If the big goal seems too daunting, set out some smaller tasks that set you in the right direction that you feel much more comfortable in taking on and achieving success in.

Support & accountability - Having support and accountability will really help with success. This is where having someone, or a group, that you can share what you are aiming to to achieve and regularly updating them will help hold you to the task you set out for yourself. Getting together with friends or family to achieve a common goal can increase the chances of success for everyone in the group. Whether it’s to reach eating a target range of vegetables over the course of a day, or month, or to get out walking regularly as a group. Whatever it is, it’s better together.

Now, no excuses to have a veg-tastic month and year ahead! Let’s take a look at this month’s chosen recipes.

Recipes
Beetroot are high in iron, potassium, niacin, copper and vitamin C with a range of other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts. They are a great additional to any meal for these reasons, but also because of their vibrant colour. Here are three deliciously different ways to prepare it.

Donal Skehan's roasted beetroot, feta and lentil salad

Jack Kirwan's crispy fried mackerel & trio of beetroot

From the Today Show, Sharon Hearne Smith's beetroot, coconut and lemongrass soup

Potatoes are a great source of potassium and also high in C and B vitamins. Kale is high in many phytonutrients, which are basically plant nutrients that don’t specifically fall into vitamins, minerals or macro-nutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fat).

Rachel Allen's potato soup with kale and hazelnut pesto

Mushrooms have quite a high protein value and depending on the variety can be high in iron and selenium as well as other vitamins and minerals. Cauliflower is about 25% protein and rich in potassium, folic acid and vitamin C along with a wide range of phytonutrients. This vegetarian lasagne packs quite a punch.

Donal Skehan's mushroom, cauliflower ragu lasagne

Turnip’s are high in potassium, have some B vitamins and vitamin C and A along with some other minerals and phytonutrients. We’ve already seen the wonders of potatoes above. This recipe says winter, cosy taste-fest for a cosy evening side.

Rory O'Connell’s gratin of swede turnips, potatoes, bacon and parmesan

Do what's right for you
While New Year’s resolutions can be a great way to kick start healthy habits, there’s a low chance of success. If the changes you want to make are something you want to do for life, then approaching it properly will help you succeed.

If the goals you set are personal to you, with a clear purpose, you do them at a manageable pace that works for you, then you are far more likely to succeed. Just remember to take the right approach for you at the right time for you. Like with all changes in life, make sure you have the support to help you with your plan.