Don’t Fall Down the Winter Hole: Healthy Eating in the Cold Months

Words by Jeffrey Stern. Photos and recipe courtesy of Farmers to You

Fall is the start of shorter days, colder temperatures, often less motivation, more time bundled up watching movies on the couch and less time getting your sweat on. Winter is when the reality of the cold, rainy, snowy, bundled-up-at-home and read books (or watch Netflix) all day season truly hits. It can be somewhat depressing and definitely not motivating to stay active and eating the foods that your body needs. It’s too easy to eat that whole bag of cookies rather than spend some time behind the stove.

Even with the holiday season behind us, it doesn’t stop the usual cold weather temptations from starting to creep into your mind. Beer and pie for dinner! Seconds? Yes, please. This is also the time of year that your local farmer’s markets are bustling with a whole array of different colored fruits and veggies packed with glucosinolates (cancer-fighting compounds), antioxidants, beta-carotenes and much more. Rainbow colored foods that taste good in stir-fries, homemade soups and breads – all meals bursting with nutrition to give you energy to get your exercise on, as well as keep your belly warm when it’s cold outside.

One of my favorite recipes for when the weather turns foul and my belly is yearning for something warm, healthy and fueling for continued activity is soup. Of all the soups in the world, there is something about a butternut squash based soup. It’s like liquid gold for the soul. I enjoy sprucing it up with ginger and carrot, which makes it even healthier and adds a few more layers of mouth bursting flavor. This Carrot Butternut Squash Ginger soup will keep your body fueled and temptations at bay, as we all try to keep from digging ourselves to big of a hole this winter that we can’t climb out of!

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:
-1 medium sized butternut squash
-3 medium sized carrots
-2 cloves garlic
-1 inch sized piece of fresh ginger
-1 small onion
-1 quart vegetable (or chicken) stock
-Water
-Olive oil
-Salt & pepper
-Optional: coconut milk or sour cream  

ingredients_courtesyofFarmersToYou

Instructions: Cover the bottom of a large pot with oil, add diced onion and a bit of salt on low heat. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until the onion becomes translucent. Add garlic, ginger, salt and pepper to taste, then cook another 5 minutes so the flavors blend together. Peel, seed and cut the butternut squash into large, one-inch chunks. Wash and cut the carrots into large chunks as well. Add the stock to the soup pot, then the carrots and squash, then add enough water to barely cover the vegetables. Bring the pot to a boil, then simmer until the carrots are tender. Using a potato masher, crush the cooked vegetables and blend to your preference. I usually like to blend half leaving some of the mashed carrots and squash for some texture. Optional: stir in something creamy if desired – I prefer a half-can of coconut milk for an additional flavor. Add sour cream into the serving bowl as a garnish.

butternutsquashsoup_courtesyofFarmersToYou

Climbing out of that fitness hole once the deep winter starts to thaw will be even easier with your nutrition and hearty meal preparations dialed. Best of all you’ll have earned round two and maybe even three of Grandma’s homemade pie that you couldn’t toss after the holiday’s, but is just waiting to be defrosted, whenever you may please.

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