Winter = Comfort Food

Winter = Comfort Food

19 July 2021

“Comfort food”… see, already you’re smiling inside!

July is peak comfort food season; hearty curries and stews covered in a pool of gravy with a mound of buttery mashed potatoes, yum! Portion control is out, and comfort is in. Sticky date pudding, anyone?

Fact is, when the temperature plummets, we aren’t just reaching for blankets and hot water bottles, but also for heavier, more warming foods. Feeling cold triggers a self-preservation mode that sends the body a message to heat up fast. And that message is often played out as a craving for carbohydrate-rich foods – the sugars and the starches that provide the instant heat boost your body is longing for. And this is why winter, for most people, means weight gain.

But, what if you can eat all the decadent foods that tantalise your taste buds without compromising your health, or sacrificing taste?

Look, there’s no clever advice on how to avoid their charms, but here’s the good news: Giving into your cravings and sticking to your health goals can go hand in hand. How?

Well, all things in moderation, right? Cut portion sizes and enjoy a bit of everything, just be sensible about it. Thick soups are great winter foods with a surprisingly low calorie count, as long as you choose those thickened with lentils or sweet potato, rather than potatoes or cream.

Explore low-carb options. Love noodles? Try zoodles, zucchini noodles – all you have to do is google “low carb recipes” and you’ll be inundated with ideas. Also remember, dark chocolate is lower in carbs than white chocolate. Delicious!

Bump up meals with vegetables and fruit. There are so many things to love about seasonal winter foods. There are the amazing colours of beetroot, squash and pumpkin, and beautiful fruits like citrus, apples and pears which are packed with vitamins and minerals.

Classic stews and casseroles are great if they’re made with lean meat and vegetables. Veggies such as parsnips and turnips are perfect for hearty meals and lean proteins help you to feel warm and full and have zinc to help boost your immune system. Garlic is a powerhouse because it adds flavour and contains the antioxidant allicin, which may help reduce our risk of catching colds. You may also find that a high protein meal can help to break the carb craving cycle – so, just opt for a good portion of chicken breast, tuna, lean meat, or seafood every day.

Remember to start your day with a breakfast high in fibre and protein, such as porridge with milk, to keep you fuller for longer. Also, drink plenty of water, put down the remote and take a brisk walk. No sweat, right?

Feel like a delicious curry round about now? Try this tried and tested recipe packed with flavour, without packing on the kilos!

Lentil Curry

1½ tablespoons olive oil

1 cup onion

1 cup lentils

1 medium sweet potato, cut into cubes

1 large carrot, chopped

½ teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 teaspoon ginger powder

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3½ cups (750ml) of stock

½ cup coconut milk


Heat the oil in a large pot and sauté the onion.

Add the lentils, sweet potato, carrot and spices and stir to combine everything.

Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes, or until the lentils and sweet potato are tender.

Stir in the ½ cup of coconut milk.

Serve with brown rice and enjoy guilt-free.

Let’s all beat the bulge as July folds its icy arms around us. Hang in there!


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

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