At The Health Boost we are passionate about eating food that is seasonal and, if possible, grown locally. It’s not just better for the environment – less food miles and therefore less pollution. It’s also better for us nutritionally.
Eating with the seasons means choosing vegetables and fruit that are in season. Nature is very clever and supplies us with foods that our bodies need. At this time of year the vegetables will contain more carbohydrates – think squashes and pumpkins – to provide us with more insulation as it starts to get colder. In the summer the vegetables contain more water – cucumber, berries and leafy salad leaves to hydrate us when it’s warmer.
Food that is eaten in season also helps to support our immune system. Again, nature provides us with the foods that we require at different times of the year. For example, in the Autumn the pumpkins provide us with pumpkin seeds, which are high in zinc and help to support our immune system. In the summer when berries are abundant, they provide antioxidants and anti-histamine to fight seasonal allergies such as hay fever.
Eating foods in season and local that haven’t travelled for miles also means that the vitamins and minerals haven’t been degenerated. Once picked vegetables and fruit can start to lose their vitamin content. If vegetables or fruit have been picked before they are ripe, as is often the case, then they won’t have maximised their nutritional benefit.
When you eat your foods seasonally and locally then the foods are less likely to have been sprayed with pesticides and chemicals. The farmers don’t have to fight against the natural growing season and so the result for the consumer is a far more beneficial product.
When I eat seasonally my diet is usually more diverse. Rather than just picking up the same few vegetables from the supermarket all year round I have to try a diverse range of vegetables and fruit. This encourages me to get more creative in the kitchen. This also benefits us nutritionally as those that eat 30 different vegetables a week have been found to have a better microbiome balance in their gut and are generally healthier as a result.
Eating seasonally and supporting local farmers also means that your food bill is reduced. You are cutting out the middleman and so will often find that your vegetables and fruit are cheaper. Buying from a farmer’s market, farm shop or vegetable box scheme also means that you can cut down on plastic that comes into your house. Many of these outlets are much more conscious of the impact of food packaging than the supermarkets and most of the produce is supplied loose for you to fill your own bags with or use paper bags.
Katharine Bright is a Registered Nutritional Therapist with a clinic in Sevenoaks. To book an appointment call her on 07769 636352 or email email@example.com. She is co-founder of The Health Boost (thehealthboost.co.uk) – a website dedicated to providing
a family friendly solution to healthy eating. For day-to-day healthy inspiration and new recipes follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
THE HEALTH BOOST RECIPES
Carrot, orange and red lentil soup
Soups are a fantastic way to add more vegetables to your or your family’s diet. Carrots are naturally sweet and with the addition of oranges this is perfect for kids of all ages! It goes down a treat with our families.
Prep time: 45 minutes
• 4 large tomatoes
• 1 tablespoon avocado oil
• 1 large leek
• 1 white onion
• 6 large carrots
• 100g red lentils
• 500ml chicken or vegetable stock
• zest and juice of 1 orange
• thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
• black pepper
1. Heat the avocado oil in a large pan.
2. Finely slice the onion and leek and add to the pan.
3. Sauté the onion and leek over a gentle heat for 8 minutes.
4. Scrub the carrots if o
rganic or otherwise peel and then slice.
5. Rinse the red lentils well under cold running water.
6. Zest the orange and squeeze the juice.
7. When the onions and leek are cooked, add the carrots, lentils, ginger and orange zest to the pan.
8. Add the stock, bring everything to the boil and then simmer for 25 minutes until the lentils and carrots cooked.
9. When cooked add the contents of the pan and the orange juice to a food blender and blend until smooth.
10. Season with black pepper and serve.
Warm squash and lentil salad
This might not be a salad in the traditional sense since it’s warm – but as the months turn cooler, adding warm elements to your salad makes sense. This is how I prefer to eat my salads in the autumn and winter. Sometimes I add just one warm element – or in the instance of this salad I have added a couple – including a spicy kick that’s guaranteed to warm you through. If you want to speed up the making of this salad you can buy ready cooked puy lentils. We like the ones that come in a pouch from Merchant Gourmet.
Prep time: 40 minutes
• 1 butternut squash
• 100g puy lentils
• 130g kale
• 1 tablespoon rose harissa paste. We use Belazu.
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
• 1 handful of walnuts or hazelnuts
1. Preheat oven at 180°C.
2. Peel the butternut squash with a julienne peeler and cut into chunks.
3. Place in an overproof dish and cover in the harissa paste.
4. Place in a hot oven for 25-35 minutes until cooked.
5. Rinse the puy lentils and place in a saucepan. Cover with cold water, bring to the boil and gently simmer for 15-20 minutes, until cooked with a little bite.
6. While the lentils and butternut squash are cooking massage your kale.
7. To do this strip the kale from the stalks, wash carefully and place in a bowl.
8. Add the extra virgin olive oil and salt and massage with your hands for a few minutes and then leave to stand. This helps to break down the fibres and makes the kale softer in texture.
9. When the butternut squash and lentils are cooked add them to the kale.
10. Crush the nuts and add these to the salad.