The annual Winter Night Market at the Queen Victoria Markets has kicked off. The fires are burning and the music swaying through the air, as the lucky market goers harvest the best foodie options in town, and we’ve rounded up our top picks to help you eat healthy.
If you, like me, plan to visit this unique Melbourne experience a few times, you will want to know what to eat to keep the mid-week guilt to a minimum, and the options are plenty.
A trip to the markets need a bit of planning, and heading straight to the Hot Apple Cider from Those Girls is a good start. This effervescent, non-alcoholic, tipple will warm your heart, literally. Apples not only taste delicious in cider form they are also full of antioxidants, fibre and phytonutrients, which may reduce the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. And better yet, this is a non-alcoholic treat which means the calories are lower than their alcoholic cousins.
Once your tummy is warmed with cider, it is time to feast.
How to eat Healthy
Our Top 5 picks at the Melbourne Night Market
If you can look past the Vietnamese Fried Chicken (it will be better for your hcealth if you do), you will see the 48 hour Pho and the Papaya Salad. Both are brilliant healthy choices. The Pho is a low fat bowl full of nutrients, such as iron from the beef, vitamin C and vitamin A, which are all great for keeping the immune system on track for winter.
If you prefer the papaya salad, well you will also get a brilliant dose of vitamins C and A, and a hit of nutrition-powerhouse chilli will give you important nutrients such as vitamins C and B, potassium and beta-carotene and it might even speed up your metabolism too!
Nothing says winter like a bowl of soup, especially served in a bread bowl! If you are feeling like eating soup that mum has made for you, head straight for the chicken soup which is full of nutritious vegetables too. This bowl of homely goodness will give you a dose of protein, fibre and a mix of immune boosting vitamins and minerals.
If you are after a more substantial soup, then B-line to the Ash Reshteh which is a bowl of herbs, spices, legumes and noodles. The benefits of legumes are aplenty, such as fibre, vitamin B, heart-friendly phytonutrients, protein and being one of the lowest level GI foods will keep you full for a long time!
These guys really know how to warm up a winters night! Head straight for the award-winning Paella. This is a dish full of gluten free rice, which is low in fat and rich in fibre and B vitamins, and then swamped with a mix of delicious seafood packed with healthy fats such as omega-3 which is famous for promoting heart health, a healthy brain and even healthy ageing, and minerals such as prostate-protecting zinc, bone calcium preserving potassium, and essential iron. Eat up!
So if you like the smoky flavours of a BBQ with a Cypriot twist, this is the place to be. Their chicken souvla is perfectly barbecued over hot coals, and served in a homemade pita with a nutritious power-punching Cypriot grain salad. The addition of the salad adds much health to this tasty protein packed dish. The powerful pomegranate seeds are full of antioxidants, vitamins A, C and E and also a good dose of folic acid. The high fibre, low GI freekah will help to prevent diabetes, and finally the formidable parsley providing many vital vitamins keeping your winter immune system strong!
The Hawaiian Grill
There is a bit of a BBQ theme, but the flavours here are unique to Hawaii. This time the healthy choice is the BBQ grilled tuna. It is served with pineapple and chilli relish, coconut rice, parsley sauce and taro chips. Let’s start with the tuna, which jam packed full of omeg-3 fats (the healthy ones) which are good for your heart and keeping you young. Then move onto the rest. Pineapple brings fibre, vitamin C and magnesium to the table providing protection from winter colds and keeping your bones strong, chilli will give you a hot burst of essential vitamins and get your metabolism moving, the coconut will give you a small amount of coconut oil which some say has varied health benefits however this is high in saturated fat so keep the amount small, the parsley will help to keep you winter colds at bay and finally the taro is a little root will give you a boost of dietary fibre and nutrients such as prostate protecting zinc, teeth tightening phosphorus and iron and folate.
The Winter Night Market will run every Wednesday evening 5-10pm until August 31.