Fare thee well my beloved season of beautiful, falling leaves, and to die for fashion. Usher in winter, the season of layering clothes under heavy coats and comfort foods to chase the blues away. Left unchecked however, all that comfort eating could lead to a not so comfortable waistline. But that needn’t be the case. This winter, find comfort in these guilt free, fabulous foods that will leave you feeling contented and immersed in warmth from breakfast to dinner.

BREAKFAST
Honey Drizzled Baked Banana
Not wanting to get out of bed on a cold winter morning is the norm. The problem is, it doesn’t leave you much time to prepare breakfast before work. Not to worry, this healthy, but mouthwatering treat takes about 30 seconds of prep time and just 15 minutes in the oven. Simply peel and slice a banana; drizzle with a little honey; and bake for 15 minutes at 375F. Serve with a little peanut butter. It’s almost like having dessert for breakfast; and as an added bonus, bananas are rich in potassium, so you’ll be getting great support for your muscles, heart, kidneys, bones and helping to normalize your blood pressure.

Banana Toastie
If you like the idea of warm, gooey bananas, but need something a bit more filling to get you through the morning, try adding slices of banana and one teaspoon of peanut butter to a slice of bread. Cover with another slice and cook on a griddle pan just as you would the ultimate comfort food, the cheese toastie.

LUNCH
Bigger, heavier meals at lunch allow you to fill up on your calories during the day when simply being busy from moving around more helps you to burn more calories. So try any of these lunchtime meal treats, which though mouthwatering and comforting, are quite low on the calorie count.

Whole Grain Pasta & Avocado
Pasta is the ultimate comfort food, but be sure to ditch regular pasta choices for healthier whole grains, which are lower in carbs, but higher in protein and fiber. After cooking your pasta, top it off with a creamy sauce that’s brimming over with essential nutrients and healthy fats. Forego your usual Alfredo sauce for an avocado treat. Simply blend an avocado with fresh herbs like basil and parsley, sea salt, black pepper, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil.Prep time is quick. Clean up is easy and you can simply add ingredients to suit your taste, making this winter treat as mild or as spicy as you wish.

For an even healthier version, substitute raw zucchini for pasta, and use a spiralizer. It will look exactly like spaghetti, and with just 33 calories in one medium zucchini; there is no absolutely no need for guilt.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup
If soup takes your fancy try using cauliflower for a thick, creamy treat. Billed as one of the world’s healthiest foods, cauliflower is packed with vitamins C and K, fiber, folate and omega three fatty acids. Many studies link this cruciferous vegetable to cancer prevention (particularly bladder, breast, prostate, ovarian and colon cancers). Cauliflower also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits and provides cardiovascular support. So what better way to take care of your body during winter, when gym trips may be few and far between?

Draw inspiration for your cauliflower soup from among the several recipes available online, or try this quick and easy version. Season strips of chicken breast with herbs to taste and grill. Blend the grilled strips with a small to medium head of cauliflower (the more, the creamier), a chicken stock cube (one cube to two cups of water should be enough), carrots and hot water. You can also add a little sea salt to taste.

DINNER
Stuffed Red Bliss Potatoes
When cravings for creamy mashed potatoes strike, satisfy them with stuffed red bliss potatoes instead. After boiling the potatoes until they’re tender, scoop out the insides and blend with sautéed shrimp, garlic, onion and herbs. Fill the potato skins with the mixture, top them off with a little shredded mozzarella and bake at 350F for 10 minutes. Allow to cool before enjoying this mouthwatering, hugely satisfying, yet surprisingly low calorie treat.

Carrot & Ginger Soup
Nothing warms the soul like soup during winter, so if your lunchtime option was the pasta or spiralized zucchini and avocado, then give this quick and easy, low calorie carrot and ginger soup a try for dinner.Sauté a cup of chopped carrots, one chopped onion, a couple cloves of garlic and some ginger, then add one cup of water or vegetable stock and salt (to taste). Cover and cook with a medium flame until the carrots are soft; and then blend. It doesn’t get much easier than this. And it’s the perfect, no fuss meal after a long commute home from work in the cold, and all you want is to cook as quickly as possible, and then cuddle under a warm blanket and enjoy a nice hot dinner.

There are several ways you can get creative with your winter meals. With two simple choices given above for each meal, you're sure to find something that takes your fancy. You can also swap ideas with friends or find inspiration for recipes online. And remember to add your own twist to whatever recipe you choose. That makes it more fun, and may even increase the comfort level you get when eating it.

3 Responses...

Anonymous says:
November 4, 2013 at 9:23 AM
I loved the idea of the stuffed red baby potatoes. They look like a healthy appetizer to me. I look forward to trying them soon! Luvtocookhealthy
Annette H. says:
November 5, 2013 at 5:26 AM
Yummy!
Anonymous says:
December 13, 2013 at 9:39 AM
Thank you for these great ideas.
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