When the weather gets colder, meals typically get warmer. People go into hibernation mode in the winter, and crave heartier meals. Suddenly creamy soups, pastas, and stews become far more appetizing than they did in the summer. Unfortunately, some of these meals may make your pants fit a little tighter if you opt for a decadent dish at every chance you get. However, there are so many ways to make healthy and delicious meals that are just as satisfying as their heftier counterparts.
Eat seasonal produce
The summer has fresh berries and summer vegetables, whereas the winter is laden with winter squash, apples, pears, cauliflower, potatoes, and other root vegetables that are staples for any winter meal. Plus, they taste exponentially better than they did in the summer as they’re actually in season. They don’t cost a fortune as they’re in abundance, so you can eat well without putting a dent in your wallet.
Bulk up your salads
Salads seem to be deemed a summer meal, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Top off your usual greens with roasted potatoes or yams, toasted nuts, crispy chickpeas, or grilled meat/tofu to enhance the meal. Even adding grains like quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice or barley will up the ante and ensure you’re incorporating healthy whole grains. Finish it off with fresh fruit, or crumbly cheese and you’ll be rethinking your views on winter salads.
Fill up on soup, stew, and chilli
Restaurant versions of these options can be loaded with cream, butter, and other delicious, but no-so-healthy ingredients. However, if made at home they can be a healthy and time-saving option for dinner. They usually make lots of leftovers that are fantastic for lunch at work. It’s easy to throw in a lot of vegetables into these meals to not only bulk up the dish, but to increase the nutritional value too.
Be creative with healthy alternatives
Some of the classic comfort meals like mac & cheese, fettuccine alfredo, or creamy soups are loaded with heavy cream and butter. There are lots of ways to make healthy versions of these meals with seasonal ingredients that won’t break the bank. Whip up cauli-fredo sauce, instead of the classic alfredo. Or use pureed squash and chicken stock instead of cream in your mac & cheese sauce. There are many ways to create nutritious options. Unsure of how to substitute? Just ask Google and a multitude of options will appear.
Don’t skip dessert
When produce is fresh, it’s sweet enough to make dessert without requiring large amounts of sugar. Simple options like baked apple crumble, or sweet potato brownies, are healthier options that incorporate the natural sweetness from fruits and vegetables while adding a nutritious punch.