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In the chillier winter months, there’s nothing that’s quite as nice as coming home to a dinner that’s heart, warming and altogether comfort food. Unfortunately, most of the time, these types of dinners tend to be . But, with a few simple swaps and tricks, you can have yourself a healthy winter warmer that hits the right spot in your belly and soul, without derailing your fitness regimen. Here are five of our favorites.
1. Slow-Cooker Soups
It’s always worth it to throw a few ingredients in a slow cooker in the morning, if it means you’ll come home from work and the gym to a hearty, hot meal awaiting you. A slow-cooker soup doesn’t have to be filled with starchy potatoes and loaded down with cheese, to be good. Ditch the potato soups and slow-cooker recipes that call for a lot of processed ingredients and go simple, with a vegetarian or bean soup filled with nutrients and flavor.
2. Shepherd’s Pie
Everyone loves a good shepherd’s pie in the cooler months, and a few simple ingredient swaps can make your version healthy, while retaining all the great flavor. Just opt for low-fat ground beef, low-sodium stock and try to add more veggies than meat to your mix. Instead of topping your pie with mashed potatoes, go for the more nutrient-rich sweet potato, and voila! You have a healthy winter warmer the entire family will love.
3. Roast Chicken
Roast chicken does NOT need to be difficult to make. Just season your whole chicken with the spices of your choice (no need to go overboard and pull all your options out of the spice cabinet; a few flavors will work just fine, such as salt, pepper and thyme), brush with olive oil and pop into a 190-degree oven until done, about 90–120 minutes depending on the size. Serve along with some roast carrots and green beans and you have a meal fit for any cozy night in.
4. Warm Salads
Don’t skimp on the salads just because it’s cold out. Go with a heated quinoa salad to both warm you up and get in your greens. Just add sautéed kale, diced sweet potato and chopped red onion to a bowl of warm quinoa and top with your favorite dressing.
5. Perfect Winter Pasta
Pasta is healthy and quick and easy to make. For a healthier alternative, swap your pasta out for spaghetti squash and cook until done, and then toss your “pasta” with some sautéed spinach, goat cheese, salt and pepper and olive oil.