Cold days and nights can really take a toll on the human body. Cold weather can affect all the various systems of the body--from your immune system and heart, to your skin and balance or coordination skills. In addition to taking the proper precautions both inside and outside of the house during winter months, making small changes to your diet can help your body better combat the cold.
Making the conscious decision to add more warm winter dishes to your regular menu will not only provide you with the nourishment you need to keep moving once it gets chilly outside, but it will also warm you from the inside out.
Healthy Winter Recipes
Adding warm winter recipes to your diet is not as difficult as it might sound! Finding both delicious and healthy winter recipes, however, can be a little bit of a challenge. Thankfully, we’ve discovered some great options for you, no matter which dietary restriction might apply.
Breakfast: Slow-Cooker Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
Ideal for: Diabetes, Lowering Cholesterol and Cardiovascular Health
Oatmeal is a nutritious, fiber-filled food that will warm you up and help to regulate your blood sugar levels and keep your cholesterol low. This recipe from TheYummyLife.com, calls for steel-cut oats that you can prepare in a slow-cooker overnight, helping you to avoid the added sugars and preservatives found in pre-packaged instant oatmeal.
- 2 apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2-1/2 to 3 cups chopped)
- 1-1/2 cups fat-free milk (or substitute non-dairy alternative like almond milk)
- 1-1/2 cups water
- 1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar (or substitute maple syrup or other desired sweetener)
- 1-1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into 5-6 pieces (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Optional garnishes: chopped nuts, raisins, maple syrup, additional milk or butter
- Coat inside of 3-1/2 quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all ingredients (except optional toppings) to slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low for approx. 7 hours (slow cooker times can vary). Spoon oatmeal into bowls; add optional toppings, if desired. Store leftovers in refrigerator. Freezes well.
- To reheat single servings: Put 1-cup cooked oatmeal in microwave proof bowl. Add 1/3 cup fat-free milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir. Continue cooking for another minute, or until hot.
- Recipe can be doubled in 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Increase cooking time 1 hour.
Nutritional Info (per 3/4 cup serving): 149 calories, 3.6g fat, 27.3g carbs, 3.9g fiber, 4.9g protein
Lunch: Southwestern Chicken and Vegetable Soup
Ideal For: Diabetes, Healthy Immune System, Cardiovascular Health
This healthy winter recipe from EatingWell.com found a great way to hide your vegetables under a big punch of flavor. High in fiber, low in sugar and gluten-free, easy homemade winter dishes like this one have significantly less sodium than store-bought soups and will keep your body warm on a cold day.
- 2 medium poblano peppers
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1½ cups chopped onion (1 large)
- 1½ cups chopped red or green bell pepper (1 large)
- 1½ cups green beans, cut into ¼-inch pieces, or frozen, thawed
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
- 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1 15-ounce can black beans or pinto beans, rinsed
- 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 4 cups chopped chard or spinach
- 1½ cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- ½ cup fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
- To roast poblanos: Position oven rack about 5 inches from the heat source; preheat broiler. Line the broiler pan with foil. Broil whole poblanos, turning once, until starting to blacken, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a paper bag and let steam to loosen skins, about 10 minutes. When the poblanos are cool enough to handle, peel, seed, stem and coarsely chop; set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, turning occasionally, until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add onion, bell pepper, green beans and garlic. Cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth, beans, tomatoes and the chopped poblanos; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
- Add the reserved chicken and juices, chard (or spinach) and corn; return to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes more to heat through and blend flavors.
- Top each portion with 1 tablespoon each cilantro and lime juice; serve with lime wedges.
Nutritional Info (about 1½ cups) 184 calories; 5.0 g fat(1.0 g sat); 6.0 g fiber; 24.0 g carbohydrates; 15.0 g protein
Dinner: Turkey Meatball Stroganoff
Ideal for: Diabetes, Cardiovascular Health
Intended to be made either in a slow-cooker or on a stove top, this healthy winter recipe from SkinnyTaste.com is a great new take on an old dish. Healthier than the traditional beef stroganoff, making the swap for turkey, which is a lean meat, makes this a heart-healthy solution for dinner time.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 pound 93% ground turkey
- 1/3 cup whole wheat seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley, divided
- 3 tbsp fat free milk
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- black pepper, to taste
- 3/4 cups water
- 1/2 cup light sour cream
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons beef Bouillon (I like Better Than Bouillon)
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 8 ounces sliced Cremini mushrooms
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- Heat a large nonstick skillet or set the Instant Pot to saute and spray with oil; saute the onions over medium heat until golden, stirring 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and divide in two.
- In a large bowl, combine half of the sautéed onions with the ground turkey, bread crumbs, egg, 2 tbsp of the parsley, milk, 3/4 tsp salt and black pepper. Gently shape into 20 meatballs.
- In a blender combine the water, sour cream, flour, tomato paste, boullion, Worcestershire sauce and paprika, blend until smooth.
- Heat the skillet or Instant Pot back on saute, add the oil and brown half of the meatballs without disturbing (in two batches) about 2 minutes until no longer sticks, turn and brown an additional 2 minutes, set aside on a dish and repeat with remaining meatballs.
- Place all the meatballs and remaining onion into the Instant pot, Slow Cooker or a large saucepan and pour the sauce over the meatballs along with the thyme and mushrooms.
For the Instant Pot: cook on high pressure 10 minutes. Let the pressure release on it’s own. When done, discard thyme, add the chopped parsley and serve over your favorite noodles.
For the stove top: add 2 tbsp water, bring to a boil then cook covered on low 20 to 25 minutes. When done, discard thyme, add the chopped parsley and serve over your favorite noodles.
For slow cooker: cook on low 6 to 8 hours. When done, discard thyme, add the chopped parsley and serve over your favorite noodles.
Nutritional Info: Calories: 310, Total Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: g, Cholesterol: 142mg, Sodium: 372mg, Carbohydrates: 14.5g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Protein: 27.5g
Stay Warm, Stay Safe
Keeping warm, nutritious food in your belly is only one component of remaining healthy during the winter months. By investing in a medical alert device from Medical Guardian, you are also investing in staying healthy this winter. Medical Guardian monitoring services work round the clock to ensure your safety in a medical or non-medical emergency.