It seems like the snow is coming, and it’s tempting in the cold weather to choose stodgy comfort foods - making it difficult to meet the new recommendation of up to seven pieces of fruits and vegetables a day.
One great way to address this is by having homemade soups, as they give an ideal opportunity to add extra helpings of vegetables to your daily intake and to pack extra nutrients into your meals. Soups are also a great way of filling you up without filling you out!
Some winter vegetables which are readily available in Ireland this time of year include Brussels sprouts, celery, green or red cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, curly kale, garlic, leeks, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, swede, and turnip, and also beans, peas, and lentils. Not only are these winter vegetables at their best for this season but are also grown in great quantities in this country, so they are kind to your purse and good news for the Irish economy!
Winter vegetables have many benefits. They are low in calories and fat, meaning they can help you to watch your weight and therefore your waistline. They are a good source of fibre, important for contributing to a healthy gut by keeping you regular, helping to control blood glucose levels, lower cholesterol levels, and keep you fuller for longer.
Consuming five portions of fruit and vegetables each day has been shown to help reduce your risk of heart disease, certain types of cancer, and stroke.
Why not give this homemade vegetable soup a go!
(Serves four )
2 onions, chopped
1 leek, sliced
2 medium or 1 large carrot, chopped
2 sticks of celery, chopped
1 small or half large turnip, diced into cubes
1 clove garlic, chopped
Fresh parsley and thyme
1.5 pints vegetable stock
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 tbsp of herbs, and 1.5 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 the Safefood website: www.safefood.eu/en/Consumer/Recipes
By Orla Brady, community dietitian. 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 [email protected].