I’ve started noticing lately that as the cold weather comes in, my desire for salads goes out the window. My body is craving richer food, fuller food, hotter food. It’s going into “holy crap it’s getting dannnng cold out there and I want to be warm” mode.
So I started thinking, what are some good, hearty, comforting meals that I can turn to in the coming months that are still really healthy and satisfying? Comfort food doesn’t need to mean constant unhealthy and heavy food, although of course every now and then it just feels so good to eat a really heavy meal in the winter.
Here are a few strategies that I came up with. They accomplish both the healthy factor and the really comforting factor:
1. Instead of big bowls of pasta, I love making big bowls of sautéed veggies and adding marinara sauce, pesto or some good cheese. Treat the veggies like pasta, and you can still sit down to this big comforting bowl of goodness without feeling heavy afterward. Or, go for the pasta, but just add more veggies/less pasta to the mix.
2. I’m majorly craving pancakes and oats these days. During the summer, I wanted a lot of eggs, omelets, and lighter breakfasts. Now, I am all about the carbs, and there is not anything wrong with that! Choose healthier pancake recipes, and bulk up your oats with some fruit so that you can get a big bowl of warmth in the morning without feeling like you put a brick in your stomach!
3. This one I don’t really need to even say, but soups and chilis are generally very very healthy. My advice here is to EXPERIMENT and eat soup that sounds fun to you. Personally, most soup recipes looks borrrinnng to me, but some pique my interest. Look around and find ones that actually sound tasty to you. Don’t settle!!
Some recipes that look appealing to me that I want to make:
4. Stir Fries are amazing. And by Stir Fry, I mean throw literally anything in a pot, add some heat, a good sauce, and you’ve got yourself a meal. I am the Queen of Concoctions and my secret (shhhh) is I just go with my instincts, throw a bunch of crap together, and 9/10 it’s good.
5. Cheese. So if you are like me, your body will want some heavier food in these cold days ahead, cheese being one of them. So go ahead and have some cheese! But make it quality. Full fat cheese, in my humble opinion, is the way to go. Add some to your meals and I promise you will be satisfied with an appropriate amount. I’ve recently started experimenting with various types of cheese and it’s fun to throw around different flavors depending on what I make.
6. Drink up. Tea tea tea. I drink tea all the time as it gets colder out, and it helps me warm up without any food, so that I’m really only eating when I’m actually hungry. I always have an abundance of tea around. I usually keep some fruity, some sweet, and some more mild tea (peppermint, chamomile) lying around, as well as both caffeine free and caffeinated. Tea is a MUST for me in the winter time.
7. Keep eating your greens, but eat ’em hot. During the summer time, I ate spinach almost every day. In salads, in smoothies. But now that it’s getting colder, the thought of cold raw spinach sounds totally unappealing. So to get your veggies in, just serve them hot. Steam them, sautee them in a stir fry or add them to soups, make chips with them (Kale chips), roast them, etc. Experiment in the kitchen and find new ways to get your veggies in as your body feels like hibernating.
8. Same thing with fruit. I’ve been cooking fruit hot and adding it to meals. You can really throw it in anything… in your oatmeal, in rice, in a random Concoction, in with your vegetables, anything. In fact, cooking apples, bananas, pears, etc. brings out their sweetness factor so it is a win-win!
I will keep thinking and let you know what else I come up with as the days get colder around here. Stay warm out there and let me know if YOU have any strategies to add!!