Cold weather and gloomy afternoons
make us crave hearty, warming food. Indulging every once in a while is fine,
but too much heavy or rich food can lead to weight gain which can increase your
chances of health conditions such as chronic disease.
Given that it can be more
challenging to get outside and exercise during the winter months, you may need
to pay a little bit more attention to your nutrition to ensure that you’re
achieving a healthy energy balance.
Luckily, you can have the best of
both worlds: healthy and filling foods that don’t contain too many calories.
Here are a few of our favourite
healthy and comforting recipes for those cold winter nights:
Spaghetti bolognese is a staple
dinner in many Australian households. This one has a great flavour but contains
a few extra servings of veggies as well as a leaner style of beef mince, making
it even more nutritious but with fewer calories.
1 tablespoon of dried basil
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 medium-sized carrots, grated or
2 sticks of celery, finely sliced
1 brown onion, finely diced
200 grams of white button
500 grams of extra lean beef mince
2 400 gram tins of chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 tablespoon maple syrup
300g dried spaghetti
Add the olive oil to a large frying
pan (or saucepan) over medium to high heat. Add the basil, oregano and garlic,
and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the carrots, celery and onion to the pan, and
saute until soft.
Add the beef mince, and cook until
just browned. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, maple syrup and tomatoes
and bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer and cover with the lid. Cook
for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened to your liking, stirring
occasionally. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti as per the instructions on the packet.
Serve with fresh parsley or basil
and grated parmesan.
Spicy lentil dahl
Dahl is the ultimate healthy
comfort food: hearty, creamy and ultra-warming. This is also a very versatile
recipe — it can be served by itself, with boiled rice or topped with mango
chutney alongside some naan. This dish is also vegan and vegetarian friendly.
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely
2 ½ cm piece of fresh ginger,
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 brown onion
300g red lentils
400ml can of light coconut milk
1 vegetable stock cube
1 bunch of fresh coriander
Heat the oil in a large saucepan
over medium heat. Once hot, add the spices, garlic, ginger and chilli, stirring
until fragrant. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened.
Add lentils to the pan and stir
before adding the coconut milk and enough water to cover the lentils by a few
centimetres. Crumble in the stock cube and stir to combine. Bring to the boil
and then turn down to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes or until the lentils are
tender, stirring occasionally. Top with chopped coriander and serve warm.
Homemade burrito bowl
Whether takeaway or homemade,
burritos are a truly delicious comfort food. This recipe loses the tortilla and
substitutes full-fat sour cream and cheese for lighter versions, resulting in a
full-flavoured yet nourishing dinner.
1 pouch of microwavable brown rice
2 baby gem lettuce, finely chopped
½ a red onion, diced
200 grams of cherry tomatoes,
1 bunch coriander, finely chopped
2 chicken breasts
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
60 grams of light cheese, grated
⅓ cup of low-fat Greek yoghurt
1 can of red kidney beans, drained
1 small can of corn kernels,
1 lime, juiced
Heat the oil in a frypan over
medium to high heat. Cut chicken breasts in half lengthways and sprinkle with
spices and a pinch of salt. Add to frypan and cook until golden brown on the
bottom, before turning over and cooking for another few minutes, until
completely cooked through and no longer pink. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Mash avocado using a fork, add half
of the lime juice and a pinch of salt and pepper and set aside. Combine tomato,
onion and coriander in a separate bowl with the remaining lime juice, and set
Cook rice as per the instructions
on the packet, and divide between two bowls. Top with the beans, sliced chicken
breast, cheese, lettuce, salsa, corn, guacamole and Greek yoghurt.