Seasonal main meals, side dishes and snack ideas.
If you are new to cooking or you're just out of ideas of what to eat, why not follow our Move it and Lose it recipe page to accompany our 12 week workshop. We endeavour to provide you with seasonal recipe ideas to help you add simple healthy meals and snacks to your diet.
Week 1 (September) - The Runner Bean
This week’s ‘in season’ food is the runner bean and these are a great addition to your diet. They can be used as a tasty side dish, a snack or an added component to a hearty stew or curry. Runner beans are a good source of calcium, folate, vitamin A and C, as well as fibre.
I had a successful crop of all sort of beans this year and if you like getting out in the garden, beans are a relatively easy produce to grow. And by getting out in the garden you'll be working towards your activity and moving goals.
Week 2 (September) - The Blackberry
Commonly found in the UK through summer and autumn and in their prime in September, the blackberry is an edible fruit that is often seen growing wild. And you’ll almost certainly see them in abundance in forests and hedge rows, I found plenty lurking in the hedges walking around Pagham Nature Reserve.
Technically blackberries aren’t a berry but consist of 80-100 small drupelets similar to a miniature grape bunch. Blackberries contain a plethora of important nutrients including magnesium, potassium, vitamins A, C, E and B with vitamin C being highest in concentration. All you need is 10 of these juicy fruits to count towards your five-a-day.
Blackberries are great used in sweet and savoury dishes, why not try adding them to a healthy apple crumble recipe or a homemade sauce to accompany a beef dish. They are also great to eat on their own or sprinkled on plain yoghurt.
This week’s recipe features spelt with blackberries, find it on our MILI recipe page. (You could also experiment with other grains in place of spelt).
Week 3 (September) - The Courgette
Courgettes are very easy to cultivate in temperate climates such as the UK and have a reputation among home gardeners for overwhelming production. Courgettes contain Vitamin A, C and B-6 and are also a good source of potassium. They are in the same family as a pumpkin and butternut squash but fruit in the summer time. This year I grew them in raised beds and even a tomato planter and with the lovely summer weather ended up with more than I was capable to eat.
Courgettes are a very versatile vegetable and can be cooked in many ways. They are great when stuffed, used in tortillas, sautéed with cumin seeds or used as a layer in moussaka. You can even make them into cakes.
Try out this week’s recipe using courgetti (spiralled courgettes) in place of spaghetti for a lower calorie, but filling alternative.
Week 4 (October) - The Sweetcorn
The evenings may be getting darker now but don’t let that dampen your mood, as these little rays of sunshine can still be harvested into October. And as you can guess from the name this wonderful wholegrain has a sweet tasting flavour, it is best enjoyed directly after harvesting (if you are growing it at home). Corn is a good source vitamin C and folic acid, additionally sweetcorn contains sources of thiamine (B1), niacin (B3) and magnesium.
Sweetcorn can be enjoyed as a snack (on the cob), in salads and added to salsas, you can even add them into more hearty dishes to give them a certain sweetness.
Why not give our warming and delicious recipe ‘Sweetcorn and smoked haddock chowder’ a try this week to warm your cockles!
Week 5 (October) - The Butternut Squash
October seems to be a very vibrant month with yellows and oranges and this is reflected not only in the fruits and vegetables available to us, but also to the sky line awash with fiery looking leaves that begin to fall from the trees. This week’s in season edible delight is the butternut squash a close relative to the pumpkin that may feature later on in these posts. Butternut squash are good sources of vitamin A and beta carotene both of which play a role in eye health, they are also great sources of fibre, vitamins C, E and B and minerals such as calcium and magnesium.
Butternut squash is delicious roasted and then used in salads, side dishes or even as a mash, they are also very tasty when made into soups. Soups are also a great way of adding extra nutrients to your diet, why not try adding a tin of cannellini beans to it after you have whizzed it up or even some cooked quinoa.
This week’s recipe is a warming butternut squash and chilli soup.
Picture from: https://bit.ly/2yfVKnb
Week 6 (October) - The Carrot
Carrying on our orange theme for this month we are going to talk about the carrot. This very versatile root vegetable wasn’t always orange, up until the middle ages all carrots were purple. However across the channel in Holland some patriotic growers bred an orange carrot in tribute of King William I of Orange.
We’ve all heard that old adage carrots help you see in the dark and this is partly true, they’re very high in beta-carotene, which is important to maintain good eye health.
Carrots are great eaten raw or cooked and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. This week’s recipe is garlic roasted carrots, these are great used as a side dish or a snack.
Picture from: https://bit.ly/2P79XgE
Week 7 - The Pumpkin
When we think of pumpkins our minds are usually cast to some scarily carved out orange vegetable a light with a glowing candle. Carving faces in vegetables actually date back to the Celts, who used these to ward off evil spirits. Back then turnips were usually used as pumpkins hadn’t arrived from the Americas yet. However pumpkins are an edible vegetable, from the squash family, harvested between October and December. Believe it or not most of the pumpkin can be eaten including the seeds, which you may have sampled in week 2 courtesy of Sue.
Pumpkins are a great source of vitamin A and contain small amounts of iron, magnesium and vitamin B-6 and C. They are also a very good source of fibre which helps keep our digestive system healthy and helps prevent constipation.
Pumpkins are great used in various dishes both sweet and savoury, in the United States pumpkin pie is a very popular dish whereas in Italy they use it to fill ravioli. Try out this week’s warming recipe- pumpkin risotto.
For a healthy snack this Halloween, gives these ghostly looking bananas a go!
Week 8 – The Potato
The humble potato is at its best in November and is the fourth largest food crop in the world. It is thought the potato was domesticated 7,000-10,000 years ago in southern Peru and north-western Bolivia. There are now over 1,000 different types of potatoes following years of selective breeding.
Potatoes contain good amounts of vitamin B-6 and C, however these levels drop after cooking. They are also a good source of carbohydrate, fibre and energy. However potatoes don’t count as 1 of you 5-a-day, this is mainly because they contribute starch to our diets.
Potatoes are a very versatile ingredient and can be used in many dishes, this week we have an Italian inspired recipe. Try out this delicious and hearty Tuscan potatoes with Chicken.
Picture from: https://bit.ly/2Dgo0v5
Week 9 - Red Cabbage
Red cabbage is a seasonal vegetable harvested around November time. It is a popular accompaniment at Christmas and is a traditional staple to many German meals. Red cabbage keeps better than its white relative, which generally is made into sauerkraut to last the winter.
Red cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin B6, C and K as well as a good source of fibre. B6 is important to help your body process the protein, carbs and fat we eat. It is also closely linked with other functions in the body such as the nervous and immune systems. Providing you eat a healthy balanced diet, it is relatively easy to reach your B6 daily target.
This week’s recipe is red cabbage braised with apple, bacon and balsamic vinegar. This is a great dish served with your Sunday roast.
Picture from: https://shutr.bz/2PbhxHZ
Week 10- The Cauliflower
You may start to think as the days become shorter and the weather becomes colder that vegetables don’t grow as well, however there is still a plethora of produce that grows well around this time of year. Cauliflower is in the same family as broccoli, kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts and collard greens. Cauliflower contains high amounts of vitamin C, as well as good amounts of vitamin K, B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorous. It’s also high in fibre giving 10% of your daily needs.
Consuming enough fibre may help prevent digestive conditions like constipation, diverticulitis and IBS
Cauliflower is used in many dishes or as an accompaniment and more recently has been used in place of grains and legumes. These new and inventive variations include cauliflower rice, cauliflower hummus, cauliflower mash or even cauliflower pizza crust. Our recipe for this week is spicy cauliflower, this is great eaten as a snack and is really simple to prepare and cook.
Picture from: https://bit.ly/2Dejlce
Week 11- Kale
You may have noticed a certain theme with this month’s weekly produce and if you haven’t I’ll let you into a little secret. They are all part of cabbage family, and this week’s vegetable is another closely related cousin. Most of these are hardy and grow throughout the winter, kale is actually best in January but can be harvested from September through to April.
Kale is very nutrient dense and contains high amounts of Vitamin K, A and C as well as good amounts of manganese, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Vitamin K plays a vital role in blood clotting, bone health and heart health, however deficiency is rare but can still occur in people with severe malnutrition or malabsorption.
This week’s recipe is Chicken and Kale Stir-fry. Why not try making kale crisps by baking it in the oven until dry or adding blanched kale into salads for that extra crunch.
Picture and content from: https://bit.ly/2IiJ9r7
Week 12- The Brussels sprout
A bit like marmite, you either like ‘em or hate ‘em, however whatever your stance these little green balls of goodness are still a culinary Christmas favourite. Brussels sprouts like many other cabbage species are native to the Mediterranean region, however their name may derive from their cultivation in the late 13th century near to Brussels in Belgium. Brussels sprouts grow in temperature ranges between 7-24oC and are harvested between September and March.
Brussels sprouts contain high amounts vitamin C, K and A also there is moderate amounts of folate, vitamin B6 and dietary fibre. We need folate in our diets for the production and maintenance of new cells and for preventing changes to DNA.
Why not try something different this Christmas and spruce up your brussels sprouts with this recipe: Roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon and chestnuts.
Picture from: https://bit.ly/2Riktj8
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