As the temperature falls and the evenings start to get darker, it’s increasingly tempting to curl up on the couch wrapped in a blanket with a movie on the TV and a good hearty meal in our bellies. Many of us admit to craving more food when the weather gets cold than we do in the summer months, but not all comfort food has to be stodgy and laden with calories. If you love your comfort food but like the team at Fresh Dental you want to keep in shape this autumn, here are some healthy, lower-calorie ideas:
Soup is a winter staple that makes a good choice for lunch or dinner. There are countless flavours to choose from and as well as being filling, soup is packed with goodness. If you’re making your own soup at home, chuck in plenty of vegetables to make for heartier fare that will really fill you up. Some vegetables often included in soups include:
During Halloween seasons, why not make some delicious pumpkin soup out of the guts of your scary lantern?
- Jacket potatoes
Jacket potatoes are simple, quick, cheap and filling, making them the perfect choice for a cosy winter night in. Cook your jacket in the oven to ensure a crispy skin and choose from a range of scrummy toppings such as cheese, tuna, bacon, chilli beef or baked beans.
Like soup, stew is a popular winter evening dish and providing you use the right ingredients (lean meat and plenty of vegetables will always make a killer stew!), it’s healthy and low in fat. If you lead a busy schedule, a slow cooker should become your best friend. You can leave these on all day long, so it’s a great way to knock up a killer stew for dinner with minimal hassle.
- Beans on toast
We all have those nights where we can’t be bothered to cook, but instead of reaching for that takeaway menu, why not turn to the fast, family-friendly comforts of beans on toast? Baked beans are a source of fibre and protein and wholegrain bread is rich in fibre and complex carbohydrates to keep you fuller for longer.
- Baked cherry tomato pasta
If you’re looking for a warming pasta dish that won’t make you feel bloated, baked cherry tomato pasta is a great option. Chop some cherry tomatoes and garlic into small pieces, sprinkle with oregano and bake in the oven at 150 degrees for about half an hour. In the meantime, boil some water and add some fresh, wholemeal pasta (linguine works well with this dish). Drain the pasta, take the tomatoes out of the oven and combine the two. Add a sprinkling of parmesan and you’ve got yourself a hearty winter dinner.
- Cottage pie
Cottage pie is a real hug on a plate during the winter months and it doesn’t have to be really heavy and stodgy to taste good. Use lean mince beef and add plenty of carrots and onions to your mixture, combine with stock and thicken with gravy before adding your mash layer on top. Grill the pie to give it a crisp, golden brown crust and voila – A hearty, healthy meal! To add a bit of spice to your cottage pie, why not throw in some chunks of chorizo?
Eggs are one of the most versatile foods around and omelettes make a light but filling lunch or dinner dish. They take just a few minutes to make and you can add all kinds of different bits and pieces, such as mushrooms, onions, ham, bacon and cheese.
A stir-fry is a quick and healthy meal and is a great way to hit your 5 a day. Grill or fry some chicken, beef, salmon, pork or tofu with plenty of vegetables such as broccoli, peppers, onions, carrots, baby corn and leafy greens. Add some beansprouts and a dash of soy, black bean or sweet and sour sauce and serve with rice or noodles.