Banish the winter chills - go for the hot stuff!

It’s all a bit chilly at the moment, and with the cold weather we tend to choose stodgy comfort foods, making it difficult to meet the recommended five-a-day of fruits and vegetables. Homemade soups are an ideal opportunity to add extra helpings of vegetables to your daily intake, and also to pack extra nutrients into your meals. They are a great way of filling you up without filling you out, and will help you keep your new year resolution to watch your waistline.

Some of the winter vegetables readily available this time of year are: Brussel sprouts, celery, green or red cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, curly kale, garlic, leeks, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, swede and turnip, and beans, peas, and lentils. Not only are these winter vegetables at their best this season, but they are also grown in great quantities in this country, so including these foods is kind to your purse.

Winter vegetables have many benefits, such as:

Low in calories and fat - this means they can help you to watch your weight and therefore your waistline

Good source of fibre, helping to contribute to a healthy gut by keeping you regular, helping to control blood glucose levels, lower cholesterol levels, and keep you fuller for longer

Help you get your five-a-day - it is recommended to consume five portions of fruit and vegetables each day as this has been shown to help reduce your risk of heart disease, certain types of cancer, and stroke

Kind to your purse - buying vegetables which are in season can help you to save euros on your weekly shopping bill

Homemade vegetable soup

(Serves four )

Ingredients

2 onions - chopped

1 leek - sliced

2 medium-sized carrots or 1 large carrot - chopped

2 sticks of celery - chopped

1 small turnip or 1/2 large one - diced

1 clove garlic - chopped

Fresh parsley and thyme

Olive oil

Knob of butter

1 1/2 pints vegetable stock

Method

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a small knob of butter in a large saucepan.

Sauté all the vegetables in the oil for 10-15 minutes over a low heat, stirring occasionally.

Then add the garlic, 1 tablespoon of herbs, and 1 1/2 pints of vegetable stock. Vegetable soup can also be made with chicken stock for extra flavour.

Bring the soup to the boil and simmer for about 40 minutes.

You can eat the soup as it is or cook it for another 20 minutes and liquidise it to make a smooth soup. Add some chopped fresh parsley and serve.

Taken from Safefood website: www.safefood.eu/en/Consumer/Recipes

By Orla Brady, community dietitian, HSE Dublin-Mid Leinster. For more information on diet and nutrition see www.indi.ie or contact Maria at the Community Nutrition and Dietetic Service, HSE Dublin-Mid Leinster on (044 ) 9395518 or email community. [email protected].

 

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