Banish the chill for the 6 nations

Homemade soups on these cold days are an ideal opportunity to add extra helpings of vegetables to your daily intakes, and also to pack extra nutrients into your meals.

Homemade soups on these cold days are an ideal opportunity to add extra helpings of vegetables to your daily intakes, and also to pack extra nutrients into your meals.

Orla Brady, Community Dietitian, HSE Dublin-Mid Leinster

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Ireland’s first opponent in the 6 nations is Wales – their national vegetable – the Leek is one of the great winter vegetables that will banish the chills in a healthy way. Leek and potato soup is a classic and delicious combination that is an ideal accompaniment whilst watching Ireland beat their Welsh opposition (hopefully). See below for a simple recipe that means you can whip up this soup in no time.

Other winter vegetables which are readily available in Ireland during this time of year are: Brussel Sprouts, Celery, Green or Red Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Curly Kale, Garlic, Mushrooms, Onions, Parsnips, Swede and Turnip and also Beans, Peas and Lentils. Not only are these winter vegetables at their best for this season but also grown in great quantities in this country, so including these foods more this time of the year is kind to your purse and is good news for the Irish economy!

Winter Vegetables have many benefits, such as;

Low in calories and fat – this means they can help you to watch your weight and therefore your waistline;

Good source of fibre, which is important for helping to contribute to a health gut by keeping you regular, helping to control blood glucose levels, lower cholesterol levels and keep you fuller for longer;

Help you get your 5-a-day!– it is recommended to consume 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day as this has been shown to help reduce your risk of heart disease, certain types of cancer and stroke; and

Kind to your purse – buying vegetables which are in season can help you to save euros on your weekly shopping bill.

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Using vegetables in season and that grow plentiful in Ireland can mean cheaper and tastier food too. Soups are also a great way of filling you up with without filling you out, and at this time of year this will be helpful for you to keep your New Year’s Resolution to watch your waistline.

For more information on diet and nutrition see www.indi.ie or contact Maria at: The Community Nutrition and Dietetic Service, HSE Dublin-Mid Leinster: (044) 9353220 or email community.dietitians@hse.ie

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Leek and Potato Soup

Ingredients

2 onions - chopped

3 leek – washed and sliced

5 Potatoes – peeled and cubed

Vegetable (Rapeseed) oil

2 pints vegetable stock

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Method

Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, add the onions, cover and cook for 2-3 mins (stirring occasionally

Add the Leeks and potatoes, turn down the heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally

Add the vegetable stock, bring to the boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for 40 minutes until the potatoes are soft.

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Optional – you can liquidize the soup (often more acceptable for the little ones!)