I don’t know about you, but I hate the cold! Once the temperature dips below 50 degrees, I find myself less motivated to exercise and all those crisp, green salads and healthy meals I was eating all summer and fall abruptly seem so much less…appealing. Not only are so many yummy veggies and fruits no longer in season (or just not as fresh), but let’s face it: once Mother Nature brings on the brrrrr, our craving for comfort foods comes on full force!
Soup is the perfect winter food choice: warm, nourishing, and filling. Look for soups that don’t contain dairy and are low in sodium. Soups containing lots of veggies or a good chicken broth are the way to go. Slurping soup as a first course can also fill you up, which we know can help us limit our calories for the rest of the meal!
Even though some of your favorite fruits and vegetables may not look as good during the winter, this doesn't mean you shouldn’t be filling your shopping cart with produce. The best way of managing our weight is by eating lots of fruits and vegetables. They are loaded with nutrients and fiber, and have a high water content, which makes us feel full. Look for seasonal items such as butternut squash, beets, grapefruit, pears, clementine, and healthy greens like kale, collard greens, brussel sprouts, and broccoli.
Not only is oatmeal a convenient breakfast food, but it’s also uber-nutritious! Loaded with vitamins and minerals and antioxidants, this super food not only helps control weight; it’s also great for the ticker and helps reduce high blood pressure and build immunity. Look for all natural old-fashioned oats. Add nut butters or pure maple syrup (no Aunt Jemima, please!) and you’ll find it warm and delicious. My favorite winter comfort food by far!
Because our bodies crave warm foods during the winter, those cold, crisp greens don't seem quite as appetizing now as they do in July. But instead of saying no to salads, I suggest topping your favorite greens with warm chicken, roasted veggies or potatoes, toasted nuts, or crispy chickpeas. Adding this warmth to our salads will provide the same feeling that those naughty comfort foods do – but without the guilt!
Quinoa, in my opinion, is the best grain to eat – especially during these winter months – because it absorbs a lot of water, which keeps us full for a long time. This is an awesome grain for weight loss and, since it contains marvelous amounts of fiber, vitamins, and healthy fats, it may be one of the healthiest things we can eat. Don’t forget it’s also a complete protein, which makes it an excellent choice for anyone who is staying away from animal proteins.
Quinoa also makes a great porridge, ideal to eat for breakfast during these wintry months. Add one cup of cooked quinoa with about a cup of milk (I like almond milk, of course) to make it warm and creamy. Also feel free to add cinnamon, honey, or maple syrup.
So don’t let Jack Frost tempt you to crawl under the blankets and order pizza. Put on your hat, boots, and scarf and go for a walk outside. When you come back, try some of these healthy comfort foods I mentioned. I promise: you’ll feel – and look – great when you do!