It certainly is getting chilly out there this winter and I for one am not a big fan. We have 4 seasons in a year, 3 of which I love but winter, well I don’t know about you but I just get over it very quickly and start fantasizing ( even planning) warm beach holidays.
The one thing that I do look forward to in winter is warming comfort food. I think of soups, stews, curries, slow cooked braises and warming drinks.
But some of these comfort foods, along with the desire to lounge around more and hibernate can not be so great for the waistline. You can make a few switches in your diet, to help swap out the not so great for the waistline to sailing through the season feeling and looking good.
Here is my list of 5 great healthy swaps that will keep you satisfied and give you that feeling of comfort without the guilt and perhaps that ‘muffin top’!
- Switch white potatoes to sweet potatoes- Sweet potatoes are higher in fibre, vitamin A and C, contain fewer calories and carbs overall, making them a healthier ,more nutritious option. White potatoes are good for you, yes and have great nutrients in them, but the sweet potato trumps them in the nutritional stakes! You could even combine them half/ half when making a mash. OR trade in white potato mash for Cauliflower mash or again, half/half. I’m all for getting a variety of vegetables into you and mash is one great opportunity to do so. It also helps the waistline while you are at it.
- Still have your salad…just make them warm!- If you love your salads but just can’t bring yourself to eating cold foods in winter, then you can just modify the ingredients and have them warm. Think roast vegetables, a little brown rice or quinoa and drizzle with your favourite dressing and you have a hearty warm salad. * Try this- Roast up some chunks of sweet potatoes, pumpkin,Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, beetroot, onions ( whatever you like). Once cooked add into a bowl a few spoonful’s of these vegetables. Toss through some rocket or Watercress, crumble some feta and drizzle a squeeze of lemon juice and some extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle on some nuts or seeds if you like…… A warm salad! Store the leftover vegetables in a sealed bowl in the fridge and reheat over the next few days for lunches.
- Pick Porridge over packaged cereals- Breakfast cereals are secret sugar hoarders and are often full of overly processed and artificial ingredients ( look at the back of a packet and see if you recognise all the ingredients?). Porridge ( Oats) on the other hand are simple yet warming. They are a very good source of fibre, are a good source of quality protein and are high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Their beneficial health effects, such as lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels, have gained them a reputation as a health food. I use whole rolled oats as they are less processed and fill me up for longer . Instant Oats are very heavily processed- steamed, rolled, steamed, dehydrated and then toasted. *Check out my Pimped up Porridge recipe here, for a warming, highly nutritious breakfast that can be made up in no time!
- Switch Kiwi Fruit for Oranges! Yes Oranges are great for you and are abundant this time of year, as they are in season, but Kiwi fruit are surprisingly more abundant in Vitamin C, in fact they contain almost double the amount of your daily recommended allowance. Vitamin C is a powerful protector of virus during the cold and flu season and having your kiwi fruit or oranges is a great way to ward off those sniffles. I add in one to my green smoothie each day.
- Pour a warming peppermint or herbal tea over a hot chocolate. Boo I here you saying, but as much as I love a mug of hot chocolate, drinking them regularly or daily may not be so good for the waistline, where a cup of warming herbal tea, will not only warm you up, but give you their health benefits, also. If you want to have a hot chocolate, make it a occasional drink. I have a recipe for a ‘healthier’ version on my website. Click on the link here to get the recipe.
I do hope you stay warm this winter, I know its hard to keep the body moving and resist those comfort food, but if you just do a few simply healthy swaps, you can have your comfort food and eat it too!
If you want anymore ‘healthy swap’ ideas, click here for more.