"Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live."
That quote is from Jim Rohn, the American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker. Eating well is key to our health and sometimes we can get stuck in a cycle of eating similar foods due to the busy nature of our lives. Here is where someone like myself can help. People like me can shine fresh light onto a situation. I can show what you are doing well, where adjustments can be made and changes implemented, in order to make sure that you are eating the right food and in the right quantity, to maximise your own health. After all, if our car is not working correctly, we take it to the garage to get it serviced and fixed. We don’t want to break down on the motorway and be late or miss the appointment we were going to. We want reliability. The same goes for our health and bodies.
As we now move into September, Autumn is now firmly starting to make it’s mark felt. The children have gone back to school and my youngest has started school. This year, particularly, I feel September is a new start for everyone and I look towards the oncoming Autumn and Winter with fresh eyes.
In this blog, I will go over Autumnal vegetables. We have a lot of vegetables that are now in season. However, I want to concentrate on Pumpkins and Squashes. I believe they are amazing vegetables and I really know Autumn has arrived when I start to see the variety of pumpkins appearing on the market stalls and in the supermarket. They are great filling vegetables and you don’t just have to use one on Halloween. Not only can you eat the roasted flesh in a variety of ways, but pumpkin seeds can be cleaned and roasted in the oven for approximately 30 minutes and then added to muffins, top of your porridge or added to couscous or quinoa with a meal. Or top off a salad. That way, you make the most of your purchase. The roasted pumpkin seeds keep quite happily in an air tight jar for a while after cooking too. These are great for you too.
Below I have detailed pumpkins and squashes and their key nutrients and benefits to our body:
Vitamins A, C, E, Folate, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium. Good for tissue and collagen production as well as muscle function and lung health.
Vitamin A, C, Potassium, Iron. Good for cell damage reduction, eye health, immune system function, Digestion, heart and skeletal muscle function and lowers cholesterol.
Vitamin B6 and C, Potassium, Calcium, Phosphorous, Magnesium. Good for cell repair, wound healing, muscle function, energy, metabolism, red blood cell production and immune system function.
Good source of Omega 6. Vitamins B6, K, Folate, Riboflavin, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorous, Zinc. Good for blood clotting, cell development, iron absorption, anaemia prevention, energy and immune system function.
So what can we do with all these vegetables? Well, I have given you a risotto recipe below along with ideas for variations. However, what about:
Make up a stew or casserole. If you don’t eat meat, then try chickpeas and lentils with a mixture of seasonal veg? Don’t forget fresh herbs to add some zing. What about mint and ginger with chickpeas?
Use roasted squash with your Sunday Roast.
Get your hands on a Queen Squash or Small Pumpkin. Slice off the top and keep it, and then take out the seeds from the inside to make a well or a large hole. Then stuff it. Try Chilli Con Carne or Ragu. Maybe leek, cheese and onion mix or couscous with tomatoes, halloumi and veg? Put the top back on and bake in the oven. Makes a great meal!
Below is a Roasted Pumpkin Risotto. This is great for filling lunches or a lovely evening meal.
Prep Time – 30 minutes
Cooking Time – 1 hour in total
Calories - 185 per portion
Makes enough to feed 6 people.
Take the seeds from your Pumpkin and cut into slices. Save the seeds. You need ½ a small pumpkin for this recipe with the outer skin removed and the pumpkin cut into cubes. The other half, either save in the fridge for the next day or take off the outer skin and freeze.
Clean the seeds and place on an oven tray. You can mix with some spices if you like, try cayenne pepper or paprika. Roast at 180C Fan / 200 C for 20 minutes.
At the same time, season the cubed pumpkin with pepper and dried sage and roasted in the oven. This will take about 30 minutes. When both are cooked, take out of the oven and turn the oven down to 160 C Fan / 180 C
For the risotto, you need 300g of risotto rice and 900 ml of stock.
Take 1 small onion and cook it in a little olive oil in an oven proof casserole dish until soft and tender the outer edges have started to go brown. Add in the risotto rice and 2 gloves of garlic chopped and stir briefly.
If you like now add 175 ml / small glass of dry white wine and mix until the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. Then add all of the stock! Yes, all of it. Mix. Add ground black pepper and a large handful of chopped fresh sage.
Put the lid on the casserole and transfer to the oven to cook. After 15 minutes, check the risotto and add the roasted pumpkin and cook for another 10 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed by the rice and it is soft and tender.
Take out of the oven and serve. Mix through some grated Parmesan and add some of the roasted pumpkin seeds for extra crunch.
Tasty and keeps you full. It also have fibre, protein, and loads of vitamin A, C, B vitamins, manganese, potassium, phosphorous, folic acid or folate, calcium, iron and healthy fat.
If you want any more information, please get in contact with Ridgeway Nutrition. Don’t forget to sign up for my monthly newsletter! Details on how to sign up are on the homepage of the website.