Six Winter-Warming Comfort Meals
With the weather getting colder, it is very natural for our cravings to change. Smoothies and salads are often off the menu, and perhaps rightly so. Eastern medicine encourages not only eating what is in season but also eating for the season. In warmer months, choose more cooling foods, in the colder months, choose more heating foods. Without as many raw foods, we need to focus on ways to still include nutrient-dense vegetables into our routine. Soups are therefore a great replacement for smoothies, and stir-fries, curries, stews, and roast vegetables stand in for raw salads. After all, we need the anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting vitamins and minerals we get from veggies in cold and flu season! Flavouring your foods with herbs and spices is another fantastic way to give meals that warming sensation you so crave. So without further ado, try these six delicious warming staples to keep you healthy and satiated throughout winter!
Spiced Turmeric Porridge
It is likely most people think of porridge when it comes to a simple, winter breakfast option, but let's not get complacent! You don't have to be coeliac to be swapping your oats for other gluten-free grains – why not try buckwheat porridge or quinoa for not only taste but also nutrient variety. Each of them have varying levels of protein, iron, magnesium, calcium and selenium, therefore ensuring you rotate your grain base is an easy way to capture different nutrient profiles. Adding warming spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and cardamom also offer favourable benefits to boost the immune system and nourish the digestive tract throughout the colder months.
Teff is a beautiful, gluten-free, pseudo-grain that brings a “nutty” flavour, while the olives and capers in this dish offer a “meaty” quality. Flavoured with Italian herbs and spices, this warming main goes well with a delicious rocket side salad, and should be served fresh out of the oven!
This traditional Indian stew-like meal is made by combining vegetables, mung beans, basmati rice and spices. Easy to digest, cleansing, protein-rich and fragrant, it is a great “make-a-batch-in-advance” dish, that only gets better as the days go on, can be warmed in no-time, and will certainly hit the spot!
A true winter warmer. This vegan take on an old classic is flavoursome and chunky, just the way bolognese should be! Packed with veggies as well as protein and fibre-rich legumes, it makes the perfect lunch or dinner atop of zucchini pasta or brown rice & buckwheat noodles. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast for a B-vitamin boost and hint of “cheese”. It really satisfies that craving for rich comfort food!
Roast vegetable salads
Simply cooking up a bunch of your favourite roast vegetables at the start of the week is a fantastic way to have easy-to-digest veggies on hand to jazz up salads and sides. Using a mix of vegetables including cruciferous, different varieties of potatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, onion etc. sprinkle them with your favourite herbs/spices to boost their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory content. Think: turmeric, garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, curry powder, cumin, cinnamon, sea salt, black pepper… yum!
Herbal teas are a wonderful go-to for snacks or an after-meal delight, but sometimes you crave that little something extra. This super tasty, soothing sugar-free hot chocolate contains simple, healthy ingredients, with the addition of nutmeg which can act as a gentle sedative aid. Note cacao contains some caffeine, so if you are very sensitive, be mindful of enjoying this too close to bedtime (you'll feel it!). Don't limit this to dessert, feel free to replace that second coffee with a creamy hot cacao to get you through the day.