Keep Up Healthy Eating This Winter

Winter is a challenging season when it comes to our health. Ordering take out and watching TV can sound really attractive after a long day when it’s cold and dark outside. By the time February rolls around, a lot of us start to lose our motivation to eat healthy and stay active.

No one said keeping up healthy habits was easy, but it is worth it! Healthy eating and meal planning will help you control your blood glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol, and your weight. What’s more, making smart food choices will give you more energy and the nutrition you need to stay healthy.

To help you out, we’ve got some great ideas for simple and healthy winter cooking, plus links to some of our best winter recipes. Try some new things in the kitchen, remember all the benefits of healthy eating, and don’t forget – spring is right around the corner!

Embrace Winter Favorites

Remember that once spring hits and the weather warms up, you’ll be in the mood for refreshing produce and grilling recipes. For now, enjoy signature winter dishes like soups, stews, casseroles, and chili.

A steamy cup of soup makes a great entrée, side dish, or even an appetizer when it’s cold outside. Research has actually shown that when people eat low-calorie soups (broth-based, not cream-based) as an appetizer, they tend to eat less of their main course. So, this may be a helpful strategy for weight control.

Soups, stews, casseroles, and chili are very versatile dishes. Even if your recipe doesn’t call for it, it’s easy to add or substitute any veggie or lean meat that you have in the fridge. These types of recipes usually make a lot of servings, so they are great for gatherings with family and friends. If you’re not cooking for a crowd, you can always freeze leftovers in individual containers so you’ll have a quick, pre-portioned meal for another day. Try some of our favorite winter recipes below.

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup

Veggie Chili

Beef and Sweet Potato Stew 

Potato Casserole 

Make Use of Your Crock Pot

Feeling sluggish lately? Not really in the mood to cook after a long day at work? Let your crock pot do the work for you.

A crock pot (also called a slow cooker) is an electric dish that cooks food at a low, steady temperature. It usually takes about 8-12 hours to cook a meal. It allows you to do the prep ahead of time and have a meal ready when you get home. Just throw in your ingredients before you leave in the morning and turn your crock pot on. Come home later, and dinner can be ready when you walk in the door.

There are lots of healthy crock pot recipes out there for stews, roasts, chicken, chili, and more. Here are a few great recipes from our site to get you started:

Crock Pot Spinach Lasagna 

Cranberry Pork Roast Over Noodles

Comfort Food – Remade!

Who doesn’t want a nice plate of Mom’s mac n cheese and some hearty beef stew when it’s cold outside? The problem with comfort foods like these is that they can be very high in calories, high in fat, and heavy on the carbohydrates - not exactly a good choice if you have diabetes or are trying to lose weight.

But that doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorites. Health is a hot topic right now, so a lot of chefs are out there altering comfort food recipes; trying to make them healthier without sacrificing flavor.  You can find a lot of “remade” comfort food recipes right here on Recipes for Healthy Living. Here are just a few of our favorites:

Classic Mac N Cheese - A much healthier and more satisfying option than the boxed stuff.

Quick Herb-Tomato Soup - Our version of tomato soup. It goes great with any salad or sandwich!

Chicken Joes - A great recipe if you’re a sloppy Joe’s fan. 

Apple Crisp – Sometimes comfort means satisfying your sweet tooth!

For a whole book of comfort food recipes, check out our Diabetes Comfort Food Cookbook by Robyn Webb.

Enjoy Winter Produce While You Can

We all know the importance of getting in our fruits and vegetables. Though the price of berries, peppers, and other summer produce goes up during the colder months, a lot of people don’t realize how many fruits and veggies are actually in season this time of year. Below is a list of winter produce to look for in the grocery store. Many times, produce that is in season is lower in price than out of season options.  

  • Clementines
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Lemons
  • Passion Fruit
  • Pear
  • Oranges
  • Tangerines
  • Broccoli and broccoli rabe
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Fennel
  • Garlic
  • Leafy greens (Spinach, Swiss chard, Kale, Collards, etc.)
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Potatoes (yellow, red, sweet, etc)
  • Parsnips
  • Radishes
  • Turnips
  • Winter squash (butternut, acorn, etc)   

Note: Seasonality can vary based on the region of the country where you live.

Check out a few of our recipes that use winter produce:

Beet and Arugula Salad with Feta

Creamy Cheesy Cauliflower 

Stuffed Acorn Squash 

Remember that canned and frozen produce is also an option. It’s also usually cheaper than fresh. Just remember to buy it without any added sugar, salt, or sauces.

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