When the weather is cold, it is probably the easiest time of year to curl up in a blanket on the sofa with the fire on and some lovely comfort foods. I think that’s honestly what everyone wants to do, but sadly we know that doing this too often can lead to some serious weight gain.
Chances are if you’re reading this then you may be more concerned with weight loss rather than weight gain so in this short article I aim to give you some good ideas you can use to make your comfort/treat foods healthier this winter.
It’s natural when we’re cold and tired to crave the high calorie quick fix options rather than making a meal so some will power is required.
Our summer body is earned in the winter remember? (I keep telling this to myself when I want to sit down with a bowl of ice cream and watch a film instead of training)
So without further ado I’ll give you a list of some top treat foods and tell you how to make them a little bit healthier or give you some healthy warm alternatives to eat in the next few months.
Warm Up With Porridge
I love a bowl of porridge first thing in the morning, it tastes great and is super filling. Wouldn’t recommend it just before training though as it tends to just sit in your stomach. If possible try not to have the readymade sachet ones and go for the big packs of oats, it’s cheaper and also contains a lot less sugar.
Oats give you loads of vitamins, minerals, wholegrains, fibre and protein which our body needs. On their own oats can be a little bland. You can mix the oats with water or milk (try almond or hazelnut milk) or half and half. So instead of adding sugar try out fresh berries or sliced banana or you can try some dried fruits and mixed seeds with a sprinkling of cinnamon.
I promise it tastes great and will get your day off to a flyer.
A great lunch time snack or something warm to come home to after work, if possible avoid soups which are too creamy and stick to vegetable versions. If you make it yourself in the slow cooker you can be in control of everything you put in, spend 20min the night before preparing put it in the slow cooker and eat when you get home from work, perfect. To make it more filling you can add a small amount of wholegrain pasta or quinoa. Plus add in your meat of choice and pack it with loads of veg. Try and avoid the big slab of bread on the side though when you’re eating it.
Use the slow cooker to make a lovely casserole as well which has similar warming effects.
Delicious Cottage Pie
How nice does that sound on a cold winter night, a steaming cottage pie with a side of green veg. As you know though cottage pie can be quite calorific so here are a couple of changes to make it healthier without ruining the meal.
With your mince make sure you run it under the tap to remove some of the fat content. For the topping swap normal potatoes, butter and cheese for flavour packed sweet potatoes with a dash of olive oil, black pepper and a few chilli flakes when mashing.
If you didn’t want mince you could use vegetables or lentils instead or just have half the mince and fill up the rest with veg.
Watch Your Desserts
Instead of a big cake and ice cream stick to more fruity desserts. You can make a fruit salad with a little bit of stevia or agave syrup or you could try it with some live yoghurt. Or if you are feeling ambitious stew up some rhubarb, apples and blackberries and add the flavour with the stevia and syrup I mentioned above, or you can even have a little bit of custard with it.
Another desert idea I read, I’m not a banana fan so you’ll have to try it and let me know. Whisk up some bananas and freeze it, when it’s half frozen whizz it up in a blender and put it back in the freezer until frozen and it tastes like ice cream apparently.
When we are feeling a little sluggish then bread, chips, pasta and all those carbs seem more appealing. Switch to wholegrains where possible. Swap your white rice for brown, pasta for rice pasta or wholewheat, spaghetti for rice noodles and try not to eat too much bread, especially white bread.
Don’t Fry, Grill
A cooked breakfast doesn’t have to be really bad for you. Instead of frying just grill everything. Instead of a fried egg have scrambled, poached or boiled. Grill some tomatoes and mushrooms and have with some beans and one slice of wholegrain toast. Watch out for sausages and bacon though as that does the damage, try it with a fresh cut of cooked ham instead of bacon or you could have smoked salmon.
So that’s it for me to get you started. I hope that there are a few ideas there which you can take away and use. I’ve tried pretty much all of these myself and I promise that the changes don’t ruin the flavour and you can still enjoy these comfort foods whilst sticking to a clean diet.
Thanks for reading,