Winter Warmers for the Health Conscious

Updated: Jul 19

As Eddard Stark would say, "winter is coming" and comfort foods are starting to appeal... but before you lose your head (see what I did there?) - we're here to help you satisfy your winter cravings while still maintaining your healthy regime.


Healthy Hot Chocolate


No winter is complete without hot chocolate and frankly, as long as you're not having 3 a day, indulging every now and then is fine. If you're after a slightly healthier version though, try this on for size:


- 500mL milk (almond milk - or milk of choice)

- 1 tbsp of maca powder

- 2 tbsp raw cacao powder

- 1/4 tsp of cinnamon

- 3-4 pitted medjool dates, chopped

- A pinch of salt


Bring all ingredients to the boil and then simmer for 2-3 minutes. Pour the liquid into a blender, blend and serve.


Hearty Roast Dinner!


I feel like roast dinners have had a bad reputation. Sure, they CAN be unhealthy but if you're smart about it, they can be nourishing and satisfying at the same time.


Your meat of choice certainly plays a big part in the healthy side of things. We all love a nice big fatty, chunk of pork with a side of crackling... but a nice, humble chicken baked with lemons up it's bum and seasoned with spices like paprika, celery, rosemary, sage and thyme (with a small amount of salt of course) is both delicious and actually not that bad on the health side. Portion sizes are everything people!!


Now, maybe it's just me but I could live off roast vegetables. Here is what I do with my veggies. I peel my carrots and put them into a steamer (whole), I peel my onions and put them in whole too! I steam them until they're softish, then I put them in the oven with seasoning along with pumpkin, sweet potato and any other veggies you enjoy. I serve it all up with steamed peas, broccoli, etc. and wind up with a plate that is about 70% vegetables, 30% chicken.


**Not a chicken fan? A nice, lean cut of lamb will be great too!


Cauliflower and Leek Soup


Everyone knows how to make pumpkin soup, so why not change it up and have something a little different but equally (if not more) delicious?


Ingredients:

- 4 cloves of garlic, minced

- 1 large cauliflower, chopped into small florets

- 2 leeks, sliced

- 1-1.5L of vegetable broth (depending on the consistency you're after)

- Olive oil


Method:

- Sauté the leek and garlic in a decent sized pot with a little olive oil until the leek is soft (about 3 minutes).

- Add in the cauliflower, season with a little salt and pepper and stir for a few more minutes.

- Pour in your veggie broth, bring to the boil and then simmer for about 20-25 minutes.

- Check your cauliflower is tender and either pour into a high speed blender or using a stick blender, puree the mixture until smooth.

- Serve with some crusty sourdough!


Home Made Baked Beans


Ingredients:

- 1 can of mixed beans, drained and rinsed

- 1 Spanish onion, finely chopped

- 2 cloves garlic, minced

- Unsalted butter

- 800g tomatoes, chopped

- 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

- 2 teaspoons ground cumin

- 1 tablespoon raw honey

- 2 teaspoons ground ginger

- 2 bayleaves

- 1 litrevegetable stock

- 1 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped


Method:

- Sauté the Spanish onion in a little bit of butter, add the garlic when the onion starts to soften and stir constantly (you don't want to burn your garlic).

- Add in the cinnamon, cumin, ginger (you may need to add a teeny bit more butter) and stir until fragrant.

- Now throw in your beans, tomatoes, honey, bay leaves and veggie stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 25-30 minutes.

- Serve up with a sprinkle of fresh parsley (I also love to put Danish feta on top of mine). You can fry up some tomatoes and mushrooms, wilt some spinach and serve with some sourdough to make it a deliciously hearty Sunday morning breakfast!


In winter it is completely natural for us to want to reach for comforting foods. It's in our nature. Choosing healthier options though is what makes the world of difference. Heavy, hearty foods don't need to be unhealthy, quite the contrary! They can be nutrient dense and satisfying!

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