The colder weather of the winter will often leave us craving warm, comforting foods to cheer ourselves up. Not much beats a delicious hot chocolate or tasty roast dinner to lift the spirits and distract us from the cold, wet world outside the window. However these comfort foods are not always the healthiest options to choose, and whilst some unhealthy treats are never a bad thing, when meal times come round it is a good idea to have a few comforting but nutritious meal ideas. Here are five really easy healthy food ideas to help you eat well this winter:
Whenever I’m stuck for what to make I rustle up a healthy pot of vegetable soup. It’s so easy, you can use pretty much any veg you like; I usually include a couple of potatoes and some squash as a good base, and then I just use whatever else comes to hand. It’s so warming on those bitterly cold days and eaten with a slice of wholemeal bread on the side it will keep you full for hours.
Shepherd’s or Cottage Pie
Traditionally made with minced beef or lamb and potato, Shepherd’s Pie is such a wonderfully comforting dish in the winter. However you can tweak the recipe to make it healthier whilst still enjoying the dish, swap the potato topping for a sweet potato version, or even a mixture of sweet potato and carrot. You can even swap the meat for a quorn version which is much lower in fat!
Sausage casserole is one of my favourite winter dishes, it is such a lovely meal to eat at the end of a long day out in the cold. Unfortunately sausages are not particularly healthy so to avoid eating them too often, I like to swap them for beans and make a hearty dish with them instead. Still a good source of protein but much less fat and saturated fat.
Whether you chose to make a meat version with chicken or lamb, or a vegetable dish the lovely spicy flavours are perfect for this time of year and all the colds going around. If you are gluten intolerant (or looking for low-carb options) you can always swap the couscous for quinoa or lentils.
When it comes to winter desserts apple crumble never fails, sadly it isn’t the healthiest sweet treat so although I indulge in it from time to time it probably shouldn’t be a weekly thing! Instead why not try coring apples, stuffing them with dried fruit mixes, drizzling a little honey over them and baking them in the oven. Serve with natural yogurt instead of cream and you have a relatively healthy dessert to help you out of your winter blues.
These are just a few easy meal ideas to give you your favourite winter comfort foods without the extra bulge around your middle (save that for Christmas)!