What is it about winter that makes us reach for the food? Well, things are slowing down and eating is one of those activities you can do without much effort. But, what are we eating? Here are some suggestions for winter comfort foods that are healthy.
Comfort food makes us feel good. We eat much like bears, as if we are trying to insulate ourselves against the cold. Unlike bears, however, we have indoor heating. So, by not moving as much and eating more we are setting ourselves up for an unhealthy result come spring.
Comfort food satisfies cravings. When we eat foods that make us feel good, it releases endorphins in the brain. We feel even better then. But, most of those foods contain a high amount of unhealthy fat and calories.
So, this winter we want to give you the satisfaction and satiety but without all the calories.
People love soup in the winter. For one, they are easy to make and can be frozen for a future time if you make more than you can eat right now. You can add a lot of ingredients to soup to fill you up but leave behind all the calories.
Squash soup – There are several squash varieties that are available this winter. You can create a cream soup that is less fattening by using milk instead of heavy cream. Puree your squash first after it is cooked and then add the milk.
Beef stew – Stews are broth-type soups that contain meat and veggies. Stew contains filling foods that are going to keep you from eating a lot but also provide nutrients. If you are worried about the sodium content, try a low sodium beef broth as your base. Another option is to balance the salt content with potassium. These two work together in the body to balance your electrolytes and you can balance them in your food for a healthier meal.
Use lean beef in your stew along with the standard veggies like carrots, celery and onions. Instead of potatoes you can use grains like barley to fill you up. Also, add chopped greens like kale and turnip greens to get that potassium and other nutrients. Once the soup is done you can skim off any extra fat.
Don’t forget dessert. Chocolate has gotten a bad rap over the years. It is okay to eat chocolate as long as you eat it in moderation. Choose a darker chocolate that contains more cocoa solids, which is where the health benefit comes from.
Opt for low-fat or fat-free frozen yogurt. For a treat, top with melted dark chocolate and add a cherry, much like a sundae.
If you want something a bit more reminiscent of fall, create baked apples. Remove the core and fill with cinnamon, a bit of brown sugar and some chopped walnuts. Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly and enjoy.
What are your comfort foods? You can always add a bit more health to them this winter and still feel satisfied.