I often get asked how to maintain healthy eating over winter because many of us are prone to entering hibernation mode and eating more then we need or eating for comfort. Similarly, many of us simply want to make sure our diet is nutrient dense to support immunity over winter. Here I am sharing my winter wellness eating tips to cater to both requests!
- If prone to overeating at night for comfort and warmth, start your meals with a vegetable soup because this can help to increase satiety, increase your immune supportive antioxidant intake and be a yummy way to warm up.
- Maintain the same eating routine – if you are in a good routine, eating regularly and feeling energised, it only makes sense to stick to this routine throughout winter. This may mean getting up in the dark to eat breakfast but you will thank yourself for it!
- Bulk out meals with vegetables – soups, curries and casseroles are all winter dishes and lend well to being bulked out with vegetables. Adding veggies to meals is a good way to increase satiety without adding extra kilojoules, because veggies are high in fibre and water, making us feel fuller more quickly. Legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans and cannellini beans are also good fibre rich additions.
- Be mindful of hydration – it’s all too easy to forget to drink adequate water over winter. However, dehydration can throw off our appetite and make us feel hungry, when we are actually in need of water. Find ways to enjoy water over winter such as herbal non-caffeinated teas or infusing water with lemon/lime juice and fruit to add flavour.
- Use smaller plates and bowls if eating more calorie dense foods as a way to keep on top of portion sizes. For example, instead of using a salad bowl for curries, soups and casseroles, use a cereal bowl.
Nutrient density and general wellness
- Use an array of herbs and spices to create not only flavour and warmth in meals but also to add antioxidant and immune supportive compounds to your diet. A few of my favourites this time of year are turmeric, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cardamom and cayenne pepper.
- Add sticks of ginger and fresh lemon juice to herbal teas, as a way to include more antioxidant compounds in your diet.
- Blend up roasted vegetables and simmer with tomato passata and herbs to create a nourishing tomato sauce.
- Toast a mix of nuts, seeds and spices in a fry pan, once cool, add to a coffee grinder and pulse until a crumb like consistency is reached. Store in an airtight container and use to sprinkle on soups, roasted vegetables and omelettes etc.
- Try new foods, diet diversity is so important for the overall nutrient density of our diet but also to help our gut microbes flourish. A new season is the perfect time to expand our diets and try new seasonal ingredients and make sure to eat in season where possible.
- Add hemp seeds and chia seeds to porridge, avocado on toast and scrambled eggs/omelettes, as a way to add more healthy fats to your diet, especially if you usually add these to smoothies and aren’t having smoothies.
Spicy Turkey, Quinoa and Vegetable Soup
This is one of my winter go-to soup recipes from my FILWF cookbook.
Pre: 15 minutes
Cooking: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people
500g turkey mince
8 cups water
4 tbsp. miso paste
400g can crushed tomatoes
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup of button mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp. cumin powder, ground
2 tsp. coriander powder, ground
1 small birds eye chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
1 small head cabbage, shredded
1 cup quinoa, uncooked
½ cup fresh coriander with stems, washed well and finely chopped
½ cup fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
EV olive oil
In a large saucepan, combine water, miso, tomatoes, carrots, ½ the garlic, cabbage and quinoa. Bring to a boil.
Lower the temperature, and simmer for 20-30min.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a frying pan and brown the turkey, the remaining garlic, chilli, cumin and coriander powder. Set aside.
Once the soup is ready, place the cooked turkey in the saucepan with other ingredients.
Stir through the herbs.
Take off the heat and pour the soup into bowls.