To satisfy both your body and mind, seek out comfort foods that fill your belly, warm you up, and make you feel good — but are also good for you.
It’s a great way to get more fibre-filled vegetables into your winter diet, since you can add just about anything to a soup pot — greens, beans, lentils, whole grains, and veggies that might otherwise rot away in your crisper drawer. Add a lean protein, like chicken or shrimp, and you have a complete meal. It’s dinner in a pinch, or it can even be a snack. Just to be sure to choose a broth-based soup over a cream-based one, to save on unhealthy fats and calories.
While most fresh fruit is in short supply, winter is the time for citrus to shine. Mandarin oranges are a perfect snack, and you can make a great salad with some citrus and winter greens, like Swiss chard, chicory, or kale.
Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Brussels Sprouts
Another fresh find when the air is nippy: cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. They are incredibly good for you, and great for roasting. Just toss them with a little olive oil and a little salt and pepper, and put them in the oven until they start to brown. Add peeled chestnuts to the mix for the perfect Autumn celebration.
One nutrient experts agree is vital in winter is vitamin D. The limited daylight hours, the change in the wavelength of the sun’s rays, and less time spent outdoors mean most of us aren’t absorbing as much from the sun as we do in warmer weather, and vitamin D has been shown to play a crucial role in maintaining mood. Your top dietary sources are fatty fish, like salmon — which also happen to be rich in omega-3 fatty acids, another mood booster — and fortified dairy products. Make loose foil parcels containing salmon fillets, a drizzle of oil, lemon juice, chopped chilli, garlic and ginger and heat in a medium oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
If you’re going to give in to a craving — and most experts agree you occasionally should give in — watch your portions and, whenever you can, make healthy swaps. If you’re dying for a bowl of pasta and cheese, for instance, choose whole-grain option and add lean protein to the mix, along with a few vegetables for vitamins and fibre.
If it’s dessert you want, go for a steaming mug of hot dark chocolate, which has been shown to help reduce risk of heart disease, raise levels of healthy cholesterol, and be a mood booster. Now that’s feel-good food.