Fall cooking & nutrition tips to keep you nourished this season
Our friends at Canadian School of Natural Nutrition know a lot about good, healthy food. They run a number of classes and food skills workshops across the year at their Vancouver campus – everything from probiotic foods & beverages to knife & kitchen skills to raw food fundamentals. We asked CSNN’s marketing coordinator Lynne Faires, RHN to share some of her top tips for staying nourished this fall and winter, plus her recipe for a quick and easy Roasted Squash & Apple Soup…
Fall Cooking & Nutrition Tips
by Lynne Faires, RHN
Summer months mean more cooling foods such as fresh fruits, greens and herbs that we enjoy raw with grilled goodies cooked on the outdoor BBQ. Fall and winter make it less appealing to step outside and grill up a fancy dinner. However, that doesn’t mean that you must be without a hearty, warm meal that is exciting!
Know what’s in season in Vancouver
We are so fortunate to live in a climate where food can be grown almost all year round! Before you go shopping at your local farmers market, know what’s in season by checking out the list on their homepage. Plan a few recipes that include in-season foods before heading out the door.
The BBQ has been decommissioned for the next six months and that means that the slow cooker is in! The slow cooker (or crockpot) is my favourite way of cooking for many reasons, but mostly because it is quick and simple to use.
Prep the meal the night before and keep it in your fridge overnight. Pop it on to cook when you leave for work and when you arrive home, you have dinner ready! One-pan roasted meals are also great for a quick and easy meal, that warms up the house at the same time.
Warming Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices not only warm you up, but have many therapeutic health benefits as well. Find recipes that include warming herbs and spices such as black pepper, ginger, cayenne, cinnamon, garlic, cardamom and horseradish to keep you toasty in the colder months.
Root vegetables are available all year round, but are at their peak from fall to spring. They are great to add to soups, stews or roast in the oven to go with your meal as a side dish. Beets, carrots, potatoes, rutabaga, parsnips, turnips, onions, and garlic all have their own nutritional benefits. Together root vegetables are packed full of fibre, vitamin A & C, potassium, and magnesium. They also offer a variety of anti-oxidants and help regulate blood sugar as they are high in complex carbohydrates.
As the days get shorter, so does our exposure to sunlight. We get much of our vitamin D from sunlight or from foods that have been enriched with synthetic versions. Vitamin D is known to help prevent and support brain, muscle, nerve and brain health disorders. At the market you can find a few whole foods that are naturally high in vitamin D. Eggs, fish (salmon, tuna, sardines) and mushrooms are all great sources.
Serve Hearty Meals
Eating fresh foods during the summer is great, but after a rainy day in Vancouver, you and your family most likely will be craving a warm, dense meal. Heat up home-made broth with a variety of root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, squash, rutabaga, onion) for a delicious, quick meal. Add in your choice of meat for a heartier version.
Busy lifestyles make it hard to cook every day. Make things easier on yourself by doubling up on your favorite soup, chili, or stew dish and freeze portions for later.
Easy Roasted Squash & Apple Soup
- 1 medium butternut squash or two smaller squashes such as pumpkin, acorn or kabocha
- 1 medium onion cut in half- skin on
- 1 apple cut in half and seeds removed
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- Optional flavours- add 1 Tbsp curry powder OR add 3-4 leaves of fresh or dried sage
- 1 liter of water or bone broth
- Sea salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Place halved squash on baking sheet cut-side down, with the apple tucked into the hollowed out ‘bell’ where the seeds were. Place onion halves on baking sheet as well
- Roast squash for about 45 min or until it is soft. For hard-shelled squash you need to test the fleshy side to see if it is soft
- Take out of the oven and flip the squash to cut side up to cool
- Once cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh into the blender with the halved onion and optional flavours and coconut milk, adding just enough water to blend to desired consistency
- Season with sea salt to taste
- To store, pour into 1 liter jars and refrigerate or freeze (leaving 2” head-space if freezing)
- To serve, garnish with cilantro, fresh cheese, grated apple or fried sage leaves