As the days draw in, take time to nourish yourself with delicious autumn dishes
by Jo Lewin, Public Health Nutritionist
Now the late Indian summer appears to be over and the days are becoming shorter and cooler, there is no denying our food choices are changing with the seasons too. Autumn represents a golden season for leaves, light and food with some delicious offerings to nourish us and prepare the body’s immune system for the colder winter months.
- Swap some of the raw summery salads for warming, slow cooked soups and stews
Be generous with herbs and warming spices like ginger, chilli and turmeric which are well known for their anti-oxidant properties. Soups make a great packed lunch choice and a great way to eat vegetables and vegetarian proteins such as beans and lentils.
- Choose pumpkin, squash and root vegetables and wholegrains
Bursting with nutrition and with a delicate sweet flavour, root vegetables and wholegrains are slow releasing complex carbohydrates. This means they are full of fibre, keep you full for longer and balance blood sugar.
- Stew or bake orchard fruits
Try making fruity compote from apples, pears, plums and figs to have with natural yoghurt, sprinkled with nuts for breakfast or as a snack. Bake Bramley apples with orange juice, cinnamon and sultanas as a low sugar dessert.
- Add a fermented food
Fermentation has existed for thousands of years as a way to preserve the harvest. Research has shown the inclusion of fermented foods is an exceptional way to ingest good quality, live probiotics. Probiotics produce lactic acid which helps prevent the overgrowth of unfriendly bacteria in the gut. Consider adding sauerkraut, kefir or a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to your diet to support the digestive system and improve immune function.
- Fresh herbal teas
Lemons, fennel and ginger are all known to enhance digestion. Spices used commonly in autumn include cardamom, fresh ginger, cinnamon, fennel, cumin, and turmeric. Try making your own caffeine free herbal teas.
- Take time to slow down
Notice the change around and give your body time to taste, chew and savour the flavour of each bite to fully reap the benefits. By slowing down and remaining present during your meals, you will improve the body’s ability to fully digest what you eat. Limit or eliminate distractions during meals to allow focus on food and on the sensations of hunger or fullness that we may be feeling.
Explore our recipes for more autumnal ideas.