Warm Up With Sweet Potato Soup

IMG_3845As the days get shorter and colder, warm up with this sweet and simple sweet potato apple and fennel soup topped with an apple and jicama slaw garnish. Adding apple and fennel keep this soup bright and refreshing while the sweet potato makes for a satisfying dish. Serve with our version of Irish Soda Bread for a quick and healthy meal.

Not familiar with jicama? Jicama is a tuber with a brown skin and white crispy flesh. It’s crunchy and refreshing with a mild sweet flavor; tastes like a cross between Asian pear, water chesnut and snap peas. It’s a great source of fiber and Vitamin C, and as it’s made up of about 80% water, it’s a refreshing bite on a hot day or a great pick-me-up on cold winter one. Click here for more information about jicama.

Sweet Potato Apple Fennel Soup with Apple Jicama Slaw – serves 8


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil or canola oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
  • 1 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 apples, cored and chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, core removed and chopped
  • 8 cups water or stock (low-sodium or unsalted)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
 for apple jicama slaw garnish:
  • 1 apple, brunoise (1/8” dice)
  • ½ small jicama, peeled and brunoise (1/8” dice
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • fennel fronds
  • salt and pepper, to tast


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrots, and a pinch of salt and cook stirring occasionally until very tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add ginger and spices and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add apple, fennel and sweet potato and cook about 2 minutes until apple begins to soften.
  4. Add water or stock and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook until sweet potatoes are very tender, about 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare apple jicama garnish by combining brunoise of apple and jicama with lime juice and small pinches of salt and pepper.
  6. When sweet potatoes are tender, remove pot from heat and blend with immersion blender until very smooth, thinning with water or stock as needed to reach desired consistency.
  7. Serve soup topped with apple jicama slaw.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION 1½ cups per serving, 1 serving contains: Calories (kcal) 172, Fat (g) 1, Saturated Fat (g) 0, Cholesterol (mg) 0, Carbohydrates (g) 39, Dietary Fiber (g) 8, Total Sugars (g) 13, Protein (g) 3, Sodium (mg) 100


Try this soup with a healthy version of Irish Soda Bread.



Healthy Food Access Coalition

Access to healthy foods is a concern for many in our community. In October, Healthy Waltham hosted a Healthy Food Access Forum at the Waltham Public Library. We heard from several organizations about resources already in place, but also barriers to healthy eating for many in the community. Our goal is to further our understanding of the resources and challenges, to make connections across sectors to help solve some issues, and to brainstorm together how better food access may be accomplished for Waltham.

To that end, we have formed a Healthy Food Coalition to examine these issues further. The purpose of this coalition is to gather representatives from various organizations involved in the food system and serving those who sometimes experience food insecurity – a lack of ability to provide food for their families on a daily basis. We plan to meet quarterly over the next year. If you are interested in the conversation, please send us an email at info@healthy-waltham.org.

Please read more about our Healthy Food Access Forum in our article in the Waltham News Tribune here.

Now you can view a video of the Food Forum on our Youtube Channel:

Healthy Food Access Forum

It’s Healthy Waltham’s 10th anniversary year! Come join us on October 22, 6:00 PM-8:30 PM at the Waltham Public Library, 735 Main St, Waltham, for a special presentation. Our keynote speaker will be Brian Donahue, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, Brandeis University, and co-author of “A New England Food Vision,” which describes a food system built on these core values: everyone has access to adequate food, everyone enjoys a healthy diet, food is sustainably produced, and food helps build thriving communities. We will also hear from a panel of local activists and specialists who serve the Waltham community:

Come join the conversation for Waltham’s healthy food vision.

This program is free and open to the public! Seating is limited, so RSVP is encouraged to info@healthy-waltham.org. To find out about sponsorship opportunities for Healthy Waltham’s 10th anniversary, please click here.

We are presenting this forum as part of Waltham’s Food Day activities. Food Day, October 24, is an annual event focused on food. Food Day inspires people to eat healthier, and shines the spotlight on the need to ensure access to healthy, nutritious food for all and to encourage improved policies to solve food-related problems. This year’s Food Day has a special focus on food access and food justice. To learn more about Food Day, please see the Food Day website here: http://www.foodday.org.

HW Anniversary flyer-01-1

Food Day

By Maryanne Cai, Brandeis ’16, Healthy Waltham Intern

What is Food Day? Food Day, October 24, is a national celebration of eating real food and the advancement of better food policies. It is also a day to encourage every American to reflect on how to improve their own diets and food-related problems in their communities. To celebrate Food Day, many organizations across the nation host events ranging from school activities to community festivals. Last year, there were at least 4,700 Food Day events!

One of the reasons why Food Day was created is because of the dire consequences of the common American diet. This diet consists of consuming unhealthy levels of calories, sugar, meats, and fats. The common American diet can lead to many serious health consequences such as obesity, heart disease, and more. Plus, our environment is also severely affected when people over consume processed food! Eating real, healthy foods can not only help maintain good health, but also make our food system more sustainable. By celebrating Food Day, we are emphasizing the importance of living healthy and in a society where food sustainability is a must!

It’s easy to celebrate Food Day! Reflect on the positive things about your diet and think about any changes needed to improve your diet. We have a lot of great resources, like easy, healthy recipes and information about healthy eating. Check out our recipes here. You can also learn more about food sustainability and food-related issues such as food access by going on Food Day’s website. If you are interested in food sustainability and food-related issues, come to Healthy Waltham’s Healthy Food Access Forum on Oct. 22 at the Waltham Public Library, 6-8:30 PM! Healthy Waltham is holding this forum to discuss affordable access to healthy foods, food sustainability, and more! You can read more about it here. There are also lots of cool Food Day events happening in the Boston area. Check them all out here.

Food Day doesn’t have to be just one day. Let’s all work together on eating healthier and striving for a better food system every day!



Summer at McDevitt Middle School

by Abbie Doane-Simon, Northeastern ’16

This summer Healthy Waltham has been working at McDevitt to create something really special. For the past six weeks, Ms. Turkington and Ms. Bonnyman’s classes have be coming out to the garden to plant a plethora of veggies and herbs.

We started two gardens organized by square foot and the kids drew up some plans for what crops should be planted and where. Next thing we knew, seeds and seedlings were going in the ground. Then is was only a couple of weeks of dutiful watering and some minor weeding and we were seeing pole beans, the beginnings of corn, peppers galore, and some truly beautiful squash plants. Every Thursday, these kids would come out to the garden to check on their photosynthesizing charges and make sure they were well provisioned and not overcrowded.

Finally, at the end of our short six weeks, we gathered what crops were ready and made some celebratory whole wheat and low fat cheese pizza to commemorate a wonderful summer.

It was wonderful to have the opportunity to bring these kids into the natural world and teach them about where their food comes from and where it could come from: their own gardens and hard work.

Some of them brought home broccoli plants for their own gardens and some shared their experience with me in the interviews that make up a pretty cool video. Check out the video here. I learned that Alexse, Jaimie and Kevin share a favorite vegetable, carrots and Allison chose to plant corn because it reminds her of when she lived in Guatemala.

Ideally, come fall, the crops growing in these gardens will be able to make into school lunches, so these kids were really giving back to their school.