Summer (and I use that term lightly for those who didn’t experience much “summer” weather this year), is long gone, and autumn is definitely upon us, with winter lurking just around the corner. Dark days and nights make it oh so tempting to reach for stodgy comfort foods that warm our bones and expand our waistline.
However, autumn is the perfect time to get your cold weather comfort eating under control and to give yourself a burst of nutrition rich foods to keep you fighting fit.
With a few adjustments and additions to your diet you can break the cycle of putting on a few pounds during the wintery months and then trying desperately to lose them in time for the flesh bearing summer months, whilst also keeping seasonal viruses at bay.
Tip number 1. Try to eat soup every day, it’s filling, easy to make and healthy
It’s cold outside so add warm meals to your daily diet. Try using some of these vegies in a warming winter soup. During winter your body needs more vitamins and minerals to withstand the cold, so add some of these to a pan and get creative.
Potato– Is so readily available to us that we would be foolish not to take advantage of its nutritious properties! Rich in antioxidants and Vitamin B to enhance our immune system and keep viruses and diseases at bay. It also contains vitamin C which will help to ward off common colds.
Carrot– It’s True! Eating carrots can make you see in the dark! And here’s why: rich in beta-carotene which helps strengthens cells against viruses, fight cancer, prevent heart disease and aid vision!
Leek– Is a great source of fiber and full of vitamins and nutrients. It contains Folic acid for health blood cells, calcium for strong bones, potassium for energy and good old immune boosting vitamin C. Fry this up instead of using white onion, as it’s easier to digest!
Eat vegetables that are in season and locally produced, where possible.
They will be fresher and therefore contain more nutrients than those which have been cropped before ripe, treated with chemicals and kept in chilled storage to travel thousands of miles to the supermarket shelves!
Add some lentils for extra belly filling protein, with a spoon of curry paste for a warming kick! The list of benefits is endless, nutrient rich, high in fiber for good bowel function, sustained release of energy, excellent substitute for meat, high iron content for those suffering from anemia.
Use a spoonful of miso to season your soup instead of other stock cubes. This Japanese superfood has anti-cancer properties and will also enrich the intestinal flora of healthy bacteria and hence support immunity.
Winter warmer Lentil Soup
- 225g brown lentils
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 leek, finely chopped
- 1 spoon of miso or other stock cube
- 4 carrots, trimmed, peeled and chopped
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 4 small white potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 celery stalk, trimmed and chopped
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 1 tsp curry paste
Soak the lentils in cold water for 20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and drain.
Heat some olive oil in a pan and add the onion and the leek. Soften then add the miso or stock cube with 750ml water and bring to the boil. Add the lentils, carrots, sweet potato and white potatoes. Bring back to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the celery and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Then add the curry paste.
I personally like my soup chunky, but if you prefer, you can use a blender for a smoother texture.
You can adjust the quantities of the ingredients to make a large batch which can be frozen.