Heading into the winter months often means a change in wardrobe, a change to our energy bills, and a change in diet as our food preferences, metabolism, and energy levels shift. Hitting the gym loses appeal as hitting the couch with a warming drink in hand beckons. And with listening to your body, intuitive eating, and mindful movement all big trends in the well-being space right now, does this mean you should embrace a winter of hibernation and dense calorific foods? Not exactly. It’s all about choosing the right warming and nourishing foods that aid your immune system through the cooler months. According to Ayurvedic principles, Chinese medical practices and some studies, the digestive system works more efficiently when foods and liquids are consumed at temperatures closer to our bodies. There are plenty of options for hearty winter favourites, so we’ve focused on winter warmers that promote wellness – with seasonal vegetables and plenty of nourishing ingredients taking the lead.
- The loaded spud
Set aside that deep-fried crinkle-cut potato and opt for a nutritious baked potato crammed with your favourite fillings. From mex-style chilli beans to slow cooker braised beef, just about anything goes, and all dietary needs can be catered for. The secret to a perfect loaded spud is in the potato – choose starchy variants over waxy potatoes to achieve that fluffy texture when baked. Sweet potatoes are also an excellent choice for a slightly different flavour and a dose of different vitamins. Find some healthy topping inspiration here.
- The underrated chestnut
When was the last time you ate chestnuts? If they’re not already a regular staple in your home over winter, it’s time to make them one! Rustic, sweet and nutty, chestnuts are packed with immunity-boosting vitamin C – delivering up to 45% of your daily requirements and rich in potassium, antioxidants, and fibre. They can be eaten roasted and sprinkled with sea salt, incorporated in soups, cakes, cookies or even smoothies. Add them to your shopping list and get inspired by these recipes.
- Chicken free chicken wings
Cauliflower is having a moment in the spotlight, and rightfully so. Forget everything you think you know from the bland, mushy boiled cauliflower of childhood dinner tables and embrace the tasty qualities of baked cauli. This winter veg is very low in calories and high in vitamins and contains some of almost every vitamin and mineral that our bodies need – making it a nutritious powerhouse to add to your winter meal repertoire. Side dishes aside, cauliflower can make a great alternative to chicken. BBQ cauliflower wings are a great place to start (and can even win over kids with veggie aversions). Cauliflower steaks are also delicious, as is Jamie Oliver’s whole roasted cauli.
- DIY ramen
While minestrone, pumpkin and chicken soup may be your wintery night go-to’s, ramen is a fantastic addition to your soup arsenal. It’s often a take-out favourite, but we suggest skipping the (cold) trip out of the house and experiencing the deliciousness of homemade ramen. Loaded with flu-fighting ginger, the probiotic powers of miso, and warming and wellness inducing chilli paste, alongside the comforting flavours of ramen, learn how to dish up the perfect ramen here.
- Ragu with a twist
Slow-cooked beef ragu is a perfect match for a blustery winter’s day, but if you need a nutritional boost, try subbing beef for mushrooms. As one of the few non-animal sources of vitamin D, mushrooms also contain beta-glucan – a compound that activates parts of your immune system, warding off infections. Coming in all sorts of textures and flavours, portobellos make the perfect meat substitute in this hearty mushroom ragu. And if you’re not quite ready to leave the beef behind, try mixing a few chopped portobellos into your next ragu – that way, you’ll get the traditional flavours alongside the health benefits of mushrooms.
- Vegan shepherd’s pie
Makeover another traditional favourite, impress your vegan friends or simply cram some seasonal veggies into your diet with a vegan shepherd’s pie packed with plant-based protein and fluffy golden potato. While it’s not one to whizz up on a weeknight, with a bit of prep, this recipe makes for an easy weekend dinner option, and the leftovers are equally delicious.
- Vegetable loaded muffins
Seasonal snacking can often catch us out in winter, with cravings for chocolate cake, croissants and cheese taking the place of summer fruits. Get prepared for when the cravings strike and arm yourself with seasonal vegetable loaded muffins like these cheesy zucchini and spinach muffins. You’ll still satisfy your cheese cravings, but you’ll also get the health benefits of adding super spinach into your diet.
- Take your oats to the next level
According to Tik Tok’s latest viral food, baked oats, it’s time to add something more exciting than a sprinkling of brown sugar to your oats. Perfect for a chilly winter morning, these can be pre-baked and blitzed in the microwave or made ahead to pop in the oven come morning. Once baked, these come out with a delicious (yet healthy) cake texture than your typical bowl of porridge, and the flavour combinations are endless!
Hearty can mean healthy too
Winter is the perfect time to dose up on seasonal vegetables and ingredients that warm and nourish your body. Having a repertoire of healthy and delicious recipes up your sleeve makes you more likely to make great choices that will load your body with the essential vitamins and nutrients to weather the cooler months. So, get planning and hit the shops with a list in hand.