"To satisfy both your body and mind, seek out comfort foods that fill your belly, warm you up, and make you feel good — but are also good for you,” says Ellie Krieger, RD. There are actually a lot of them:
· Soup It’s a great way to get more fiber-filled vegetables into your winter diet, since you can toss just about anything into a soup pot — greens, beans, lentils, whole grains, and veggies that might otherwise rot away in your crisper drawer. Add a lean protein, like chicken or shrimp, and you’re set. “It’s dinner in a pinch, or it can even be a snack,” she says. Just to be sure to choose a broth-based soup over a cream-based one, to save on unhealthy fats and calories.
· Citrus Fruits While most fresh fruit is in short supply, winter is the time for citrus to shine. Krieger always has a stash of mandarin oranges to snack on, and you can make a great salad with some citrus and winter greens, like Swiss chard, chicory, or kale.
· Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Brussels Sprouts Another fresh find when the air is nippy: Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. “They are incredibly good for you, and great for roasting,” says Krieger. “Just toss them with a little olive oil and a little salt and pepper and stick them in the oven until they start to get brown.”
· Salmon One nutrient experts agree is vital in winter is vitamin D. The limited daylight hours, the change in the wavelength of the sun’s rays, and less time spent outdoors means most of us aren’t absorbing as much from the sun as we do in warmer weather, and vitamin D has been shown to play a crucial role in maintaining mood. Your top dietary sources are fatty fish, like salmon — which also happen to be rich in omega-3 fatty acids, another mood booster — and fortified dairy products.
If you’re going to give in to a craving — and most experts agree you occasionally should give in — watch your portions and, whenever you can, make healthful swaps. If you’re dying for a bowl of pasta and cheese, for instance, switch out regular enriched pasta for a whole-grain option and add lean protein to the mix, along with a few vegetables for vitamins and fiber.
If it’s dessert you want, go for a steaming mug of hot dark chocolate, which has been shown to help reduce risk of heart disease, raise levels of healthy cholesterol, and be a mood booster. As Krieger puts it, “Now that’s feel-good food.”
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