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Food in Season November
Food in Season

WLR's Food Information Expert, Laurence Beeken highlights this month's low calorie food in season and gives some healthy recipes.

Food in Season – November

By WLR's Food Information Executive, Laurence Beeken

Eating local foods when they are in season is not only good for your carbon footprint, they also taste better. Because they haven’t travelled half-way round the world they are fresher and more succulent. Knowing what food is in season gives you the edge when it comes to healthy eating which is important as when you are on a weight loss diet vegetables will form a large number of your calorie-low foods. Try these seasonal diet vegetables!

Goose

 

Pumpkin

Sometimes referred to as a poor man’s duck, or a rich man’s turkey, the humble goose is making a comeback in the UK. Generally available from September through to January, goose is no longer just for Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations. Its natural season is November to December - when the birds are at their biggest and juiciest.

One of the best things about goose, other than the taste, is that the thick layer of fat mostly melts away during roasting. The skin however is still very calorie dense and you may wish to remove it before eating.

Goose fat is lower in saturated fat and higher in mono-unsaturated fat than similar fats such as lard or duck fat. This makes it a better alternative if you like to use it to roast your potatoes.

Flavour

Meat from a goose is all dark and so the flavour can be likened to the dark meat you get from a chicken, although with a 'gamier' taste. Due to the thick layer of fat, when cooked, goose is more succulent.

Nutritional Information, Goose, Meat Only, Roasted, per 100g

Calories (kcal) 319.0
Carbohydrate (g) 0.0
Sugars (g) 0.0
Protein (g) 29.3
Fat (g) 22.4
Saturates (g) 0.0
Fibre (g) 0.0
Sodium (g) 0.15

Goose Recipes

Roasted Goose Portions (349.1 kcal per serving)

Parsnips

 

Parsnips

Parsnips are widely available from around September time right through to March, although, as the frost brings out the sweetness, the tastier parsnips will be those grown in mid winter.

They can be used in a wide range of dishes from casseroles to salads and cooked in much the same way as the potato. A personal favourite is to simply roast in the oven to bring out even more of the natural sweetness. This starchy vegetable contains around 61 calories per 100g and provides a good helping of fibre, vitamin C and potassium.

Preparation

The smaller parsnips don’t need to be peeled; just give them a quick scrub under the tap and cook as they are. Older parsnips just need a quick wash, then trim the ends and peel.

Storage

Kept in the fridge in a perforated, unsealed plastic bag they can last for 2 or 3 weeks.

Nutritional Information Parsnip, Raw, per 100g (Unprepared)

Calories (kcal) 61.6
Carbohydrate (g) 11.6
Sugars (g) 5.3
Protein (g) 1.7
Fat (g) 1.0
Saturates (g) 0.2
Fibre (g) 4.3
Sodium (g) 0.0
Fruit & Veg 1.2

Parsnip Recipes

Parsnip Hash Browns (186 kcal per serving)
Parsnip Mash (300.4 kcal per serving)

Pumpkin & Squash

 

Pumpkin

The pumpkin season is quite short, so make the most of this super low calorie food. At this time of year there are plenty to be had, especially for those of us who’ve had to scoop out the flesh to make lanterns for Halloween!

Pumpkin has a mild, sweet taste, which makes it ideal in both sweet and savoury dishes. The tastier pumpkins do tend to be the smaller ones and remember that ripeness is linked to how heavy they are - so they should not feel light.

At 26 calories per 100g the colour alone shows that pumpkins are full of beta-carotene, which is an important antioxidant to help protect against heart disease. The body also converts this into Vitamin A, which will not only help give us healthy skin, but is important for a healthy immune system.

Pumpkin contains vitamin C, fibre and high levels of potassium. From a nutritional point the best part is what most people discard – the seeds. Pumpkin seeds are high in iron, zinc, magnesium and protein and contain omega 3 essential fatty acids.

Squashes are longer lasting and are capable of storage through to March. The flesh is denser and has a nuttier flavour. An excellent vegetable for roasting, curries, risottos and soups.

Preparation

Peel and remove the seeds and any fibrous stringy bits before cutting into chunks. For larger pumpkins & squash you may find it easier to cut into quarters before peeling. Pumpkins can be scooped out by removing the tops and using a large spoon.

Storage

If stored correctly pumpkins can be kept for weeks, even months. Some squashes can store for up to six months.
Store in a cool dark place and change their position to stop any rot. Cut pumpkin & squash can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for around a week. Alternatively cook and keep in the freezer. As they are a starchy vegetable, both will freeze well without affecting the flavour.

Nutritional Information Pumpkin, Raw, Edible Portion, per 100g

Calories (kcal) 26.0
Carbohydrate (g) 6.5
Sugars (g) 1.36
Protein (g) 1.0
Fat (g) 0.0
Saturates (g) 0.0
Fibre (g) 0.5
Sodium (g) 0.0
Fruit & Veg 1.3

Nutritional Information Winter Squash, Raw, Flesh Only per 100g

Calories (kcal) 34.0
Carbohydrate (g) 8.6
Sugars (g) 2.2
Protein (g) 1.0
Fat (g) 0.1
Saturates (g) 0.0
Fibre (g) 1.5
Sodium (g) Trace
Fruit & Veg 1.3

Pumpkin Recipes

You can substitute squash for any of the recipes below.

Pumpkin, Sage & Honey Soup (85.8 kcal per serving)
Pumpkin Cookies (88.5 kcal per serving)

Cabbage

Parsnips

A truly British vegetable, cabbage may not be very exciting, but it is more versatile than you might think.

You can bake, boil, braise, pickle and fry cabbage. It’s ideal for bulking out recipes as well as soaking up other flavours in dishes. It can be shredded into salads or eaten on its own.

Available in many varieties, including Red, White, Green and Savoy, the British cabbage season is long and plentiful.

As for nutritional benefits, cabbage is high in beta-carotene & iron, contains vitamins A, B, C, E, plus is full of minerals and fibre. Cabbage is thought to be great for the digestive system, and has anti-inflammatory and cancer fighting properties.

Preparation

No faffing around with this vegetable, simply chop/trim the stalk end, before chopping or shredding (particularly good in Chinese dishes), and rinsing if necessary.

Storage

If you are using cabbage within a few days of harvesting it from your garden, then it can be kept in a cool cupboard or veg rack. However if bought from the supermarket or much in advance of use, it is best kept in the fridge in cling film or a sealed container to best preserve its nutrients.

Nutritional Information Cabbage, White, Raw Average per 100g

Calories (kcal) 27.0
Carbohydrate (g) 5.0
Sugars (g) 4.9
Protein (g)1.4
Fat (g) 0.2
Saturates (g) 0.0
Fibre (g) 2.1
Sodium (g) 0.0

Recipes

Bubble & Squeak (195.4 kcal per serving)
Low Calorie Coleslaw (93.3 kcal per serving)

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