A warm pie…baked potatoes and cheese… it is all too easy to reach for the warm and comforting food as the weather stays cool. But the good news is, it isn’t hard to make some simple swaps to make healthier food choices during winter.
Let’s face it, while we know that comfort food is often high in kilojoules – it also rates high on our tastebud wish list. When satisfying those cold weather cravings, we often reach for food that’s hot, filling and tasty – and there’s no reason why a healthier version can’t be all of those things. Here’s how to whip up some classic winter comfort food that’s nutrient rich with much less calories.
Make it soup season
Hot? Check. Filling? Check. Tasty? You bet. Not only nutritious, soups tick all the boxes, and when using seasonal produce they can be extremely cost effective too. Soups can easily be made into batches and frozen, ready to be shared with your loved ones when the cold weather calls for an easy dinner. Think creamy, velvety hot soups without the fat by blending cauliflower with fresh herbs, or a hot zesty pumpkin and ginger for a hearty pick me up topped with natural yoghurt.
Health and Wellbeing Queensland’s Senior Public Health Nutritionist, Charlotte Morrison says it’s important to eat more vegetables and fruit during the cooler months.
“By increasing your vegetable and fruit intake you’re able to get a wider variety of nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, and dietary fibre, which as part of a balanced diet, can help protect us from chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer”.
While Charlotte agrees that some comfort foods should be enjoyed in moderation, she shares a handy cold weather hack when it comes to cravings.
“Have a healthy comfort food option on hand such as a soup or flavoursome curry in the freezer, that can be defrosted and heated in the microwave and served within minutes of your craving” says Charlotte.
By making simple and healthier food choices, there’s still plenty of ways to satisfy those winter cravings and bolster your nutrition. Here are some more tips on loading up your meals with in-season winter produce with healthy, heart-warming (and heart happy!) food swaps.
Mash potato for sweet potato mash
Traditional mashed potato can easily be swapped out for a more complex, slower releasing carbohydrate option with sweet potato – ensuring you stay fuller for longer while not compromising on taste.
Pies for stews
Swapping the family favourite pie for a healthy stew is a great alternative that is easy and budget friendly. Use plenty of fresh seasonal vegetables, dust off the slow cooker and serve with cauliflower rice for that added vege boost!
Swap rice for cauliflower
An excellent substitute for white rice, cauliflower rice is just as versatile. After chopping cauliflower into florets, pulse in a food processor until they are a similar size to rice. Cook the cauliflower rice in a frypan then serve as a side to curries or make a delicious and lighter alternative to traditional fried rice.
Noodles for zoodles
A healthier alternative to spaghetti or noodles, zucchini can be spiralized into ‘zoodles’ for a fresher and lighter replacement lower in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Apple pie for baked apples
Craving a hot apple crumble with vanilla ice cream? A naturally sweet and antioxidant rich option is to oven bake apples along with cinnamon, vanilla and top off with natural yoghurt. Yum!
For more information on where to shop local for vegetables and fruit, and make a better choice this winter visit https://www.abetterchoice.com.au/