Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Warm up to winter vegetables

Jennifer Struble
Jennifer Struble

When fall and winter are upon us we don’t need to stop enjoying a variety of vegetables. Root vegetables and squash are often easy to find at stores and markets this time of year. Brightly coloured pumpkins, delicious sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, beets, parsnips and spaghetti, acorn or butternut squash make a healthy and nutrient rich treat.

Winter vegetables contain vitamins, minerals and fibre, which help promote health. Canada’s Food Guide recommends eating at least one orange and dark green vegetable every day. Try any of the following ideas:
  • Add kale to your next salad.
  • Make a pumpkin or squash soup.
  • Add pureed pumpkin or sweet potato to muffins and pancakes.
  • Roast vegetables to snack on for the week or add them to salads.
  • Steam, boil or roast Brussels sprouts for a side dish with roasted meat or poultry.
  • Enjoy peeled carrots with your favourite low fat dip for a crunchy snack.
  • Layer thinly shredded carrot or thinly sliced zucchini on sandwiches or wraps.
  • Add mushrooms, carrots, parsnips, turnips, rutabaga, potatoes and yams to soups and stew.
Canada’s Food Guide suggests children and youth eat four to eight servings of vegetables and fruit per day. Adults need seven to 10 servings per day. Studies show that eating these amounts of vegetables and fruit can help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer and stroke. One serving is ½ cup (125ml) of raw or cooked vegetables (about the size of a hockey puck), one medium piece of fruit (about the size of a tennis ball), or 1 cup (250 ml) of leafy greens.

Enjoy the natural taste of vegetables. Enhance flavours with fresh or dried herbs and spices without the salt. Avoid deep-fried vegetables. Rather steam, boil in a small amount of water, stir- fry with a small amount of vegetable oil or roast them in the oven. Choose whole vegetables over vegetable juices.

Although nothing beats the taste of fresh vegetables in season, frozen can be a healthy and lower cost alternative. If you use canned vegetables, choose the variety with no salt added.

This hearty soup will help to fight off the chill while providing important nutrients for a healthy body.

Curried Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

2 Tbsp/ 30 ml Vegetable Oil 
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
1 small Onion, chopped
1 medium Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 medium Sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped 
2 cups/ 500 ml Water
2 cubes Low sodium chicken or 
2 cubes vegetable bouillon cubes crumbled
½ tsp/ 2.5 ml Ground ginger
1 tsp/ 5 ml Curry powder
1 Tbsp/ 15ml Honey (optional)
2 cups/ 500 ml Milk, 1% MF

  1. In a large non-stick pot or saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; add garlic and onion to the oil and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. 
  2. Add squash, sweet potato, water, bouillon cubes, ginger, curry powder into the saucepan.
  3. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool. Puree in the blender or mash with a potato masher until smooth.
  5. Return to pot. Stir in honey (if using) and milk.
  6. Stir until heated through.
Makes 6 servings (500 ml/ 2 cups/ 320 g)

Note: You can substitute cooked squash with 2 cups of cooked or canned pumpkin puree.

Nutrition Information per serving: 180 calories, 6 g fat, (1 g saturated), 29 g carbohydrates, 3 g fibre, 5 g protein, 75 mg sodium.

For more healthy recipes, visit:
Jennifer Struble is a Registered Dietitian with Alberta Health Services and can be reached at

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