You know it’s well and truly winter in Canberra, when you have to factor an extra 15 minutes in the morning to defrost your car! It’s the time of year to crank up the heating, layer on the clothing and enjoy your favourite comfort food.
It can be hard to maintain healthy habits over winter when you don’t really feel like smoothies and salads. Fair enough! However, comfort food doesn’t have to be high in fat, sugar and calories in order to still taste good. Not convinced? Let me show you how with these 7 hacks!
1. A crowd-pleasing creamy pasta is always a winner. Try swapping cream for evaporated skim milk, or blend silk tofu for a vegan option. It will still taste great but will greatly reduce the saturated fat and calorie content of the dish. Try this creamy garlic prawn pasta or tofu pesto pasta recipe.
2. Soup is a winter staple that is easy to pack with veggies. Choose seasonal vegetables like turnips, leek, mushroom, pumpkin, potato, capsicum, broccoli or cauliflower. Add legumes such as lentils or cannellini beans to increase the fibre and protein for a more filling meal. Choose salt reduced stock and serve with Greek yoghurt for a creamy texture. Try this sweet potato and leek soup recipe.
3. Dust off your slow cooker to create hearty and healthy meals such as curries and casseroles. The beauty of a slow cooker is that you don’t need to add much fat such as oil or butter to your cooking. Throw in your favourite meat and vegetables and forget about it all day! See this chicken korma curry and slow-cooker chorizo and fennel recipe.
4. Two words: roast dinner, and not just for Sunday lunches. Put your chopped vegetables and meat in the oven when you get home and forget about it until dinner time! Vegetables that roast really well include pumpkin, brussels sprouts, carrots, beetroot, fennel, and of course potatoes! Spray oil with your favourite herbs and spices will maximise flavour with less energy content. See this spiced vegetable bake, or this really easy one pan salmon and vegetables recipe.
5. Whoever said salads are for summer only has obviously never had a salad with roast vegetables. You can either roast some or use leftover roast vegies such as pumpkin and beetroot (or the spiced vegetable bake recipe) to create a delicious salad! Use a base such as spinach or rocket then add a protein such as chicken tenders, tuna, feta, haloumi, tofu or even a dollop of Greek yoghurt! Choose a high fibre carb such as chickpeas, quinoa, brown rice, wholemeal pasta, sweet potato or corn. Check out this Up-Beet salad, haloumi and lentil salad or pasta salad with the lot.
6. Baked goods and desserts are the best with a hot cuppa when it’s cold outside! Try baking some healthier options to have as snacks during the week. Aim for high fibre as a more filling option using oats, wholegrains and fruit, such as these carrot and walnut muffins or banana bread. Try creating a healthy version of apple crumble using oats, like our apple oat crumble with yoghurt recipe.
7. Make hot drinks healthy at home. For example, make hot chocolate at home using cocoa powder and your sweetener of choice such as honey, syrup or sugar. Flavours including cinnamon and vanilla can make is even tastier! Alternatively use a sugar free hot chocolate such as Avalanche. You can make chai latte at home using chai tea leaves infused with steamed milk (skim for a lower calorie option), then add a sweetener such as honey.
Not everything necessarily needs to be ‘healthified’, however it can be helpful to find healthy options for meals or snacks that you eat regularly. This means you can stay consistent with your nutrition or health goals while eating things you enjoy… and staying warm!
If you’re struggling with figuring out what healthy eating looks like, we can help. The team of dietitians at The Healthy Eating Clinic understands everyday life, and the pressures that we face each day with putting healthy food on the table. We can help you with your everyday nutrition, just get in touch with our team.