EATING well is one of the foundation stones for good health, especially in later life. If you can stick to a wholesome balanced diet, with a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, you’ll have more energy, find it easier to maintain a healthy weight and generally feel better all round.
One of the best ways to know exactly what you’re eating, and to avoid many of the artificial additives and preservatives in pre-prepared foods, is to cook plenty of your own meals at home. Older people are general better at home cooking than younger ones, not having grown up in the “fast food” and “ready meals” era, but some people still shy away from the stove. There’s really no reason to, as many healthy and nutritious meals are quick and simple to prepare, and taste delicious.
This recipe for a hearty and warming soup is from the NHS’s Change 4 Life website, which has lots of ideas for healthy and nutritious meals. It’s perfect as a winter warmer and a great way to get more vegetables into your diet, delivering a range of health benefits. It takes just 45 minutes to prepare and will serve up to six people, or you could store some in your refrigerator or freezer for another day.
- ½ tablespoon (tbsp) vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 2 small carrots, sliced
- 3 celery sticks, sliced
- 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 80g green beans
- 1½ tbsp tomato purée
- 1 leek, sliced
- 80g frozen peas
- 50g dried wholewheat pasta
- 1 litre boiling water
- pepper to taste
- 1½ tsp dried herbs
- Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onions, carrots, leeks and celery and fry until sizzling. Lower the heat, cover and cook gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally if needed.
- Add the tin of tomatoes, water, tomato purée, green beans and frozen peas. Raise the heat to maximum. Bring to the boil and add the pasta, herbs and pepper.
- Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the pasta’s cooked, stirring frequently to make sure the pasta doesn’t stick.
- Serve with healthy wholewheat or granary bread and enjoy!
Tip: If you’re not going to eat all the soup at one sitting, the leftovers should be cooled and stored in the fridge (for up to two days) or frozen. When reheating, make sure the soup is steaming hot all the way through before serving and never reheat food more than once.
• Each 309g serving of this soup contains: Energy 328kj/78kcal; protein 3.6g; carbohydrate 12.9g, of which sugars 4.9g; fat 1.9g, of which saturates 0.3g; fibre 2.9g; sodium 0.05g; salt 0.1g.
Allergy advice: This recipe contains celery (which you could leave out) and wheat (gluten) in the pasta. The pasta may contain egg.