There’s nothing wrong with a bit of comfort food this Winter.

The days are getting shorter and the chill is setting in around Canberra – it must be time to call on those rich, energy dense comforting foods that warm you from the inside out, right?

Can you embrace these cravings without necessarily embracing the weight gain that often comes with it?

Yes, you absolutely can! Where summer is typically the time we eat plenty of salads and those lighter foods, Winter can be equally satisfied with lots of veggies to bulk out your meals and be equally comforting.

Here are my top 4 tips for supercharging your Winter comfort foods and keep your immune system running strong:

  1. Get creative with veggies. Think outside the box a bit – potato isn’t the only vegetable you can roast. I love a good bit of roasted broccoli because it goes crispy around the edges. Beetroot and other root veggies like parsnip is another great one. Throw a whole head of garlic in too which will not only add flavour, but is delicious to eat once its brown and gooey and caramelised – it’s also a great little immune booster. I’ll often do a big tray of garlic, potato, sweet potato, beetroot, carrots, pumpkin  and broccoli. What doesn’t get eaten for dinner will mix through some couscous for lunch the next day.
  2. Soups not only freeze well for future meals but they make for an easy way to get an extra serve or 2 of veggies into your day. A favourite of mine is pumpkin soup or a good hearty vegetable soup like a minestrone which can be a one pot meal in and of itself.
  3. Supercharge your stews. There’s nothing wrong with a meaty stew – I personally love my slow cooker for this. To make it even healthier, choose lean cuts of meat and ramp up the veggies you put in there. And if you’ve used potato in your stew, consider swapping out the rice or pasta you might use to soak up the sauce, for a lower carb option like a cauliflower or kohlrabi mash instead.
  4. Finally, don’t assume all stews need to be meaty to be comforting. Replace some or all of the meat with plant proteins instead like beans or lentils. It will be just as satisfying, while being high in fibre and other vitamins and minerals your body needs

Miriam Pollak – CCHN Nutritionist