FORGET January, the best time to overhaul your eating habits is now.

Nutritionist Rob Hobson says November is a good time to have a clear out and stock up on the foods that will help to promote winter wellness.

"Nourishing grains such as barley and spelt, as well as pulses and beans, lend themselves perfectly to healthy winter dishes such as stews, casseroles, soups and warm salads.

Spices such as cinnamon, smoked paprika, turmeric, raw cacao and chilli powder can also offer warming flavours that help nurture our sense of winter wellbeing, he adds.

The key to eating "winter well", says Rob, is having all the ingredients you need to create healthy, comforting meals that include earthy, rich flavours to satisfy your mood and promote good health.

When the weather's gloomy and you're feeling depressed, it can really impact on your appetite and food choices, which may leave you lacking in essential nutrients. It's also a common season for overloading on stodgy and sugary foods, such as takeaways and desserts, for comfort.

"Food is not a cure, but making healthy choices can help and good nutrition is proven to benefit mental health," says Rob. "Make sure you eat regularly and follow a low GI diet by including protein, healthy fats and plenty of veggies at every meal, to help balance blood sugar levels and keep you feeling full and energised."

He suggests topping up on B vitamins with wholegrains, oily fish, eggs, and dark green leafy vegetables that help to convert food into energy, and support a healthy nervous system.

A final tip? Take a daily vitamin D3 supplement to keep your spirits high.

"Low vitamin D levels are common during winter months, as we struggle to get what we need from the lack of sunshine, and this can increase your risk of low mood and seasonal depression," Rob notes. "Try to eat plenty of tryptophan-rich foods, such as oats, bananas, turkey and tofu. The amino-acid tryptophan is converted in the brain to the 'feel-good' hormone serotonin."