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Throw some colour and variety at the weeknight dinner or Sunday lunch. Try this meal!

We never really know which nutrients our bodies need or which we are really eating every single day.

Most of us want to eat food, like pasta or soup, not focused on the total vitamin K we are getting.

Colour and variety in food are important because they often indicate the presence of specific nutrients. Different colours in fruits and vegetables are usually indicative of different types of phytonutrients, which are natural compounds that provide a range of health benefits.

For example, orange and yellow vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, are typically rich in beta-carotene, our bodies convert this into vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for maintaining healthy eyesight and a strong immune system amongst other amazing things.

Green cruciferous vegetables like spinach, kale, and broccoli are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as iron, calcium, and folate. Red fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, strawberries, and watermelon, contain lycopene, which is an antioxidant that can help protect against certain types of cancer.

Eating a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables can ensure that you are getting a wide range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that our bodies need to stay healthy.

In addition, eating a diverse range of foods can help prevent boredom with your meals and make it more likely that you will stick to healthy eating habits over the long term.

Herbs and spices not only add flavour and depth to our meals, but they can also provide a variety of health benefits.

Many herbs and spices contain antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial compounds and other beneficial nutrients.

For example, recently I have been turned onto the benefits of saffron, which contains a variety of bioactive compounds, including crocin, crocetin, and safranal, which have been shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and mood-enhancing effects. Studies suggest that saffron may help improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as improve memory and cognitive function.

Saffron has also been shown to have potential benefits for cardiovascular health. It may help lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels, as well as improve blood sugar control.

Additionally, saffron has been traditionally used for its potential benefits for reproductive health, including improving libido and reducing symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and menstrual cramps.

It's expensive but incorporating this spice into your meals can add both flavour and potential health benefits to your diet.

Garlic has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and may help lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health.

Herbs like parsley and thyme are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as iron and calcium, rich in antioxidants shown to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

Overall, incorporating a variety of herbs and spices into your meals can add not only flavour but also important nutrients and health benefits, making it easier to maintain a healthy and balanced diet.

What you need:

- 1 large carrot, top, tailed, peeled

- 2 parsnips, top, tailed, peeled

- 1/2 red onion, halved

- 1 clove of garlic, crushed, skin on

- 80g tenderstem broccoli, ends trimmed

- 150g white potato, peeled and cut into chunks

- 50g sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks

- 180g skinless chicken breast

- Premade supermarket sage and onion stuffing balls x2

- 1 tbsp olive oil

- 2 tsp butter

- 50ml skimmed milk

- 1 tsp dried parsley

- 1/2 tsp dried thyme

- 1 pinch of saffron

- 1 bay leaf

- 1 tbsp runny honey

What to do:

Step 1

Preheat oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.

Add the carrot, parsnips, chicken, garlic and onion to a roasting tray with the olive oil, add a large pinch of sea salt, the parsley, thyme and saffron then rub together very well. Spread evenly on the tray and add to the oven for 10 minutes.

Step 2

Meanwhile, add the potatoes to a saucepan of cold water with the bay leaf and add the broccoli to a steamer basket. Set aside.

Remove the tray from the oven and give the vegetables and chicken a mix, add the honey to the vegetables and the stuffing to the tray. Return to the oven for 20 minutes.

Turn the potatoes on high heat and boil until tender for 15 minutes. Turn the steamer on high heat and steam the broccoli for the last 4 minutes.

Step 3

Remove the garlic from the roasting tray and discard the skin. Drain the potatoes, discard the bay, add the milk, garlic and butter then mash until smooth (for very smooth mash, use a whisk once most of the chunks are broken down).

Add the mash, broccoli and roasting tray contents to a plate. Serve with cranberry sauce and gravy, if liked.

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#chicken #veg #carrots #parsnip #herbs #colour #variety #sweetpotato #potato #onion #parsley #thyme #saffron #bay

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