Winter comfort foods don’t need to be the enemy of health. Here’s how to eat meals that will keep you satisfied but also help you maintain your wellness goals.
In Winter it is often tempting to ditch your healthy eating habits for less nutritious food. The short of it is that these “comfort foods” make us feel good when the temperatures dip. But Dr Sivuyile Madikana, an expert in the field of healthcare and a member of the South African Herbalife Nutrition Advisory Board, says it’s very important to maintain healthy eating habits this time of year.
“Getting the right quantity and quality of food during the colder months is important in ensuring optimal functioning throughout the day. A healthy diet should be made up of 30 per cent protein, 40 per cent carbohydrates, and 30 per cent healthy fats. Healthier, tastier options may be just the thing to satisfy those cravings, while keeping your health and fitness journey on track.”
She shares these delicious meal ideas that come with all the taste and none of the empty kilojoules!
A delicious warm breakfast is a great way to start a cold winter morning, especially if you’re waking up before the sun! Having a delicious breakfast to look forward to can really help get you out of bed. It’s also incredibly important to fuel your body after it’s been resting for, hopefully, eight hours. Plus, if you win your morning, you win your day.
Try fruity baked oats with nuts and a scoop of protein powder, or some wholegrain toast with avocado, a poached egg and chilli flakes for a yummy, protein-rich, and hearty breakfast. This will up your energy levels for the day and give you a much-needed dose of warmth.
For a hearty, healthy lunch – why not have soup? Soups are versatile, simple to make, and a great way to pack in a ton of vegetables. As you probably already know, vegetables are high in vitamins and antioxidants, which your immune system needs to function. Illnesses tend to increase in winter, so do your body a favour and get that immune system in its best shape.
Whether you go for mixed vegetable soup, cauliflower soup, or a classic butternut soup, adding legumes like lentils or chickpeas is a great way to up the protein content. Serve with some wholegrain or rye toast for added fibre.
Nothing screams comfort food like a good old-fashioned macaroni and cheese bake, spaghetti bolognaise, or a lasagne. Unfortunately, these tasty dishes are often very heavily loaded with carbs and don’t always include much fibre or good fats. But don’t worry! There are ways to enjoy some healthier renditions of your favourite pastas (and they’ll be just as tasty too).
Instead of using pasta in your lasagne or spaghetti bolognaise, opt for some zucchini noodles, or zoodles as they are often referred to. These are easy to make yourself, but many supermarkets have ready prepared ones if you’re in a rush. For macaroni and cheese, try switching out some or all of your macaroni for cauliflower to make a tasty cauliflower and cheese bake.
Being healthy doesn’t necessarily mean you have to abandon all of your favourite comfort foods. Try swapping some of their ingredients for healthier options where you can. Remember that everything in moderation is also okay and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a treat now and again.