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 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 avoid many of the artificial additives and preservatives in pre-packed foods is to cook plenty of your own meals at home. Older people are generally 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 simple recipe for a creamy-textured harvest vegetable soup is from the NHS’s Change 4 Life website, which has lots of ideas for healthy and nutritious meals. Now that we’re officially into autumn and with Harvest Festival fast approaching, this delicious and tasty soup is just the thing to give you that warming feeling as the days start to become cooler.
It takes just 15 minutes to prepare and a further 30 minutes’ cooking time to fill your kitchen with a wonderful aroma and get your tastebuds tingling! The recipe serves four, but it you won’t use all of it in one sitting the leftover portion can be cooled and stored in a covered container in the fridge for up to three days. Make sure you reheat thoroughly.
- 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
- 1 leek, trimmed and sliced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 200g swede or turnip, diced
- 1 medium-sized potato, diced
- 400ml reduced-salt vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 600ml 1% fat milk
- 75g sweetcorn
- 1 pinch ground black pepper
- 4 wholemeal rolls, to serve
- Put the onion, leek, carrot, swede or turnip, potato and stock into a large saucepan. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
- Blend the cornflour to a smooth paste with 2 or 3 tablespoons of the milk. Add the remaining milk to the saucepan along with the sweetcorn, then stir in the blended cornflour. Heat gently, stirring constantly, until the soup thickens and just begins to boil.
- Season with a pinch of black pepper and ladle into pre-warmed bowls, serving each portion with a wholemeal bread roll.
Tips: You could use butternut squash instead of the swede or turnip if you prefer. Using semi-skimmed or whole milk instead of 1% fat milk will make the soup creamier, but will also increase the calorie count slightly. If you want to have quick meals ready for future use, you could batch cook this healthy and warming soup for the freezer, where it will keep for up to three months.
• Each portion (as per the recipe) contains: Energy 1289kj/308kcal; protein 13.5g; carbohydrate 55g, of which 18g sugars; fat 6g, of which 2.5g saturates; fibre 5.75g; sodium 391mg, equivalent to 0.9g salt.