In winter, it often feels that our appetites ramp up as temperatures drop, and cravings for comfort foods kick in with a vengeance. After all, who doesn't love a hot, hearty meal when the weather turns icy? Fortunately, these comfort foods needn’t be unhealthy or contribute to seasonal weight gain.
Here are a few easy and healthy ways to satisfy the winter munchies.
Start your day with oats
If your go-to breakfast options are usually avocado toast or a smoothie, you may find yourself craving something more warm and filling when the weather turns cold. In which case, there's very little that’s more comforting than a warm bowl of oats. And there are plenty of ways to enjoy this low-GI favourite, whether you toss in a handful of berries for a fresh burst of flavour, mix in a spoon of nut butter or add a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
For lunch, consider soups
There are a number of reasons why soups are a great lunch option. They're generally an affordable meal to make, you can pack them full of healthy ingredients, there are thousands of different recipes online so you can unleash your culinary creativity, you can cook up large batches on the weekend and keep in the fridge for a few days or freeze into convenient lunch-sized portions – and, of course, a hot bowl of soup is guaranteed to warm you up on a cold day.
For dinner, think one-pot meals
If you want to save cooking (and clean-up) time, consider adding a few one-pot meals to your menu. These hearty dishes are easy to make and, as with soups, there are plenty of healthy recipes online to choose from – including veggie curries, seafood stews and spicy tagines. So, find a few options that appeal to you and try one or two each week. As an added bonus, you're bound to have leftovers that you can heat up for lunch or dinner the next day.
Don’t forget about roasted veggies
Whiles steamed broccoli may not scream 'comfort food', a tray of delicious, slightly caramelised veggies certainly does. Roasted veggies are a great way to enjoy your favourite seasonal fresh produce, and they're healthy and versatile. Heat up a serving when you're feeling a bit peckish, add them as a side dish to your main meal or use them to make warm winter salads.
Try to adapt your favourites
By making a few simple adjustments, you can enjoy healthier versions of some of your favourite comfort foods. Take cottage pie, for example – you could adapt this winter classic by adding extra veggies to the filling and using cauliflower or sweet potato mash for the topping. If you’re craving a burger, make a no-bun version with plenty of greens and baked sweet potato chips. Or whip up your favourite pasta recipe and enjoy it on zucchini noodles.
Warm up with herbal teas
Herbal teas are calming, comforting and a great way to warm yourself up when you're feeling chilly. They'll not only help to keep you hydrated, but many herbal teas also have various health benefits. So consider picking up a box of peppermint, ginger or chamomile tea next time you do your grocery shopping.
Need nutrition advice?
If you’d like to chat to an expert about helping your body function optimally through good nutrition, whatever the season, book an appointment with Elixr Nutritionist Mogestri Pather on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0414 650 515.