Warming Winter Comfort Food

As the days get shorter and temperatures drop it is natural to start craving warm, comforting, hearty food. The recipes below are abundant in nourishing selections from the late fall and winter harvest, including butternut squash, granny smith apples, kale and garlic, all of which will help boost your immune system and help optimize performance during your winter workouts.

Taking an hour or two on a snowy Sunday to prepare for a busy week ahead is a great way to ensure you are never caught without adequate fuel during your busy workday or training sessions. Keep reading for delicious soup, salad and breakfast bar recipes below.

 

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH & APPLE SOUPbutternut squash soup_sm

The Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Soup combines three anti-oxidant powerhouses in one bowl: the carotenoids in the squash; quercetin in the apples; and allicin in garlic. Consuming a diet rich in anti-oxidants can help slow the progression of aging and ameliorate the soreness and fatigue associated with oxidative stress induced from exercise.

Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch pieces.
  • 1 medium onions, peeled and sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4-5 cups vegetable stock
  • Chopped fresh cilantro to garnish

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a large roasting pan, toss the squash, onions, garlic and apples with the oil to coat. Season well with the salt and pepper. Roast, stirring every 10 minutes, until the vegetables are fork-tender and lightly browned, about 30 minutes.

Add half the vegetables with 2 cups of stock in a food processor and purée until smooth. Repeat with the remaining vegetables and stock. Return puréed mixture to the pot. If the soup is too thick, add more stock. Heat to a simmer and serve warm with fresh cilantro on top.

Serves 4

Nutrition Information: calories 168 kcal, protein 3 grams, fat 7grams, carbohydrate 40 grams, fibre 11 grams.

WARM KALE, SPELT & CHICKPEA SALADkale spelt salad_2_sm

The Warm Kale, Spelt and Chickpea Salad delivers a satisfying meal after a cold commute home or a long, wet, winter run. Intact, unrefined grains contain all the nutrients and fibre as nature intended and provide a fantastic source of slow-release carbohydrates to keep you energized for longer. The addition of chickpeas and pumpkin seeds add a healthy source of vegetarian protein to help boost your immune system and accelerate muscle  recovery after strenuous training.

Ingredients

  •  1 cup of spelt
  • 1 bunch of kale, stripped from stem and shredded (about 3 cups)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup of chickpeas
  • ¼ cup currents
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • Salt and pepper

Apple Cider Vinaigrette

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

Cook spelt according to instructions on packet. To make vinaigrette add first three ingredients to a small bowl and whisk together. Slowly add olive oil while stirring to combine ingredients. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in large pan and sauté onions on medium heat for 3 minutes or until translucent. Add shredded kale, salt and pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add chickpeas for the final minute to heat through. Transfer kale mixture to large bowl. Add currents, pumpkin seeds, cooked spelt and toss to combine. Drizzle vinaigrette over top. Serve warm straight away or store in airtight container in fridge for healthy leftovers the next day.

Serves 4 as main course or 6 as a side.

Nutrition information: calories 281 kcals, protein 8 grams, fat 10 grams, carbohydrates 40 grams, fibre 7 grams.

 

ALMOND HONEY BREAKFAST BARS Two Nutritious Granola Bars Isolated on White with narrow Depth of Field.

Time is tight in the morning. Preparing a nutritious Breakfast Bar on Sunday will free up those precious morning minutes as you transition from workout to work. The Almond Honey Breakfast Bar is choc-a-bloc full of energizing carbohydrates, heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and protein to keep your appetite at bay until lunch hour.  Enjoy it for a breakfast-on-the-go or as a post-workout snack to replenish your glycogen stores.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened whole-grain puffed cereal (see Note)
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/3 cup chopped golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup creamy almond butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch-square pan with cooking spray.

Spread oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes until oats and nuts are lightly toasted. Transfer to a large bowl. Add cereal, apricots and raisins; toss to combine.

Combine almond butter, honey, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the mixture bubbles lightly, about 3 minutes. Stir frequently.

Immediately pour the almond butter mixture over the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon until no dry spots remain. Transfer to the prepared pan. Using your hands press the mixture down firmly to make an even layer. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Cut into 8 bars.

Nutrition Information: calories: 264 kcal, protein 7 grams, fat 8 grams, carbohydrates 36 grams, fibre 4 grams.

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