By Cara Rosenbloom, RD
As the temperature drops during winter, chances are you’ll spend more time indoors — with more time to cook. For amazing meals, use your time wisely and plan. Consider cooking and freezing portions for future use, and you’ll thank yourself later.
Warm soups, stews and pasta dishes are classic comfort foods. As you plan these meals, keep the plate model in mind. That means you ensure half of your meal is filled with vegetables, a quarter with grains, and a quarter with protein-rich foods, such as beans, fish, tofu, poultry, eggs, dairy foods or meat. What it doesn’t mean is filling the entire plate with pasta with just a smattering of vegetables on top — that’s not a balanced meal.
To make healthy comfort food:
- Add more vegetables or have salad as a side dish.
- Choose brown rice instead of white rice to serve with meals.
- Make sandwiches or subs with whole-grain bread.
- Use oats instead of white bread crumbs in your meatloaf and burgers.
- Substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream in recipes.
- Bake instead of frying chicken or pork chops.
- Try fish or poultry a few times a week instead of red meat every night.
- Try brown lentils or tofu in place of ground beef and pork in tacos, lasagna, chili and soups.
- Cut back on very salty condiments, such as soy sauce, fish sauce and BBQ sauce.
Winter is also the perfect season to put your slow cooker or pressure cooker to good use. Crockpot meals are hearty, easy and can be loaded with vegetables. Find recipes online for stews, curries, soups, casseroles and vegetable- and-protein-packed pasta dishes.