Have you ever noticed that your food preferences change throughout the year?
Maybe you’ve even wondered why you go from loving crisp green salads in the summer to craving soups, stews and casseroles in the fall.
Your body naturally wants to eat “with the seasons” and that contributes to the drastic differences in the types of meals you eat through the year.
When it is 100 degrees outside, it’s normal for your body to want to eat cooling foods to assist in keeping your body comfortable. You’ll find yourself craving iced drinks, green salads, fruits and foods that don’t require much cooking.
Rainy days are often paired with a bowl of soup or a cup of tea. Part of that is related to certain feelings or memories, but it’s also a way to support your body during the cooler temperatures. I have fond memories of splashing in the rain puddles and coming in hours later to a warm bowl of tomato soup.
However, it’s more than just the temperature that trigger your food choices. Consider food availability, for instance. In the fall, you’ll notice the foods that are in abundance are from the earth — like potatoes, carrots and other root vegetables in addition to squashes. The root vegetables are representative of drawing inward, like we tend to do in the colder months; sort of like a bear in hibernation.
Summer foods typically grow above the soil and have a vibrant and active appearance. Even the types of greens you eat in the winter are of a heartier variety with the plentiful options being kale, collards and cabbage.
During the cooler months, continue to seek out the vegetables that are vibrant in color and prepare meals that nourish you from the inside out. The more color you eat, the more nutrients you will consume through your food. Allow your body to intuitively guide you on the types of meals you prepare.
This Spicy Sweet Potato and Chicken Soup is a fall family favorite in our house. The spices are warming while the sweet potatoes are grounding and nourishing.
Spicy Sweet Potato and Chicken Soup
Serves 4; total time: 30-35 minutes
3 cups sweet potatoes, diced
1 green bell peppers, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup chicken breast, precooked and shredded
32 ounces chicken stock
1 cup water
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
Sea salt to your taste preference
Place the sweet potatoes, bell peppers, red onion, chicken stock, water and taco seasoning in a large pot.
Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low for about 15 minutes. The sweet potatoes should be tender when pierced with a fork. Add in the shredded chicken breast and black beans and turn up the temperature to bring everything back to a low boil.
Note: Precooked chicken is recommended for this recipe. I encourage you to do weekly meal preparation to make healthy eating easier. A great way to do this is to prepare a whole chicken and simply reserve 1 cup of chicken for recipes like soups and casseroles. You can substitute dark meat for the chicken breast in this recipe.
Jessica Wyman is an Idaho native, author and speaker. She’s a certified nutrition coach and yoga teacher. Visit her blog at Jessica-Wyman.com for more recipes and lifestyle advice. Get more tips in her new eBook, “Fit To Be Foxy: Clean Eating Kitchen Makeover and Meal Plan,” at http://bit.ly/foxykitchen.