Frosty winter days can create intense cravings for foods that keep the body warm. Cooked meals, soups, and warm cups of tea are part of eating well in the winter. Below are the 10 best easy meal ideas to help you eat well this winter. Plus, 5 nutrients you need more of this winter.
What is Healthy to Eat in the Winter?
Seasonal changes impact what foods are available in your local market. Plus, weather patterns influence your cravings. It’s scientifically proven you crave different foods as the winter weather turns cooler: researchers in Japan found people eat fewer vegetables and more cereals in the winter than in the summer. Feed these natural cravings for warming, comforting foods in the winter – it will leave you more satisfied. But, stay healthy by ensuring your meals include ingredients that supply your body with the nutrients most lacking in the winter cravings. The researchers found people have lower intakes of vitamin K, folic acid, and potassium in the winter. Here are some great ways to make your winter meals more nutritious.
What Vitamins Do We Lack in the Winter?
In addition to vitamin K, folic acid, and potassium, there are other nutrients you may not be getting enough of this winter. Fruits are out of season in the winter, which is inconvenient as you need vitamin C to create collagen in your skin, and for optimal immunity. Inconveniently, winter is the season that colds and flu run rampant, making vitamin C a must-have nutrient.
Plus, being wrapped up in warm clothing in the winter, your skin isn’t exposed to sufficient sunlight for it to be able to manufacture vitamin D, needed for immunity and bone health. It is important to compensate for the lack of vitamin D production in your body in the winter – research suggests 4 in 10 Canadians have concerning low levels of vitamin D. If you feel low in the darker days of winter, note low vitamin D levels are linked to an increase in the risk of depression, says research.
5 Nutrients You Need More of in the Winter
- Add spinach to pasta sauce, curries, or soups
- Roast Brussels sprouts
- Shred cabbage in a stir fry
- Add broccoli in a stir fry
- Finely chop broccoli into a chili
- Choose whole-grain options
- Swap meat for beans a few times a week
- Swap beef for lentils in pasta sauce
- Make banana bread
- Add apricots to your charcuterie board
- Try Tuna or Salmon
- Fortified plant milk
- Add bell peppers/broccoli into chilis, pasta sauces, or curries
- Snack on oranges (in season)
- Squirt fresh lemon juice into your morning glass of water
10 Easy Healthy Winter Recipes from Registered Holistic Nutritionists
Rich, warm meals are on the menu in the winter. Check out the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition’s Holistic Kitchen for easy, healthy winter recipes. Here are some recipes from the CSNN team and graduates of the Registered Holistic Nutritionist program:
- Butternut Squash Pear Soup
- Curry Spiced Butternut Squash Soup
- Dairy-free Matcha Latte Recipe
- Instant Pot Creations
- Marrakesh Curried Stew
- Pumpkin Carrot Ginger Soup
- Tofu “Chicken Fingers”
- Turmeric Turkey Ginger Soup
- Udon Noodle Stir Fry
- Vietnamese Style Turkey Meatballs
Dietary intake and its patterns across summer and winter seasons in Hokkaido, Japan. Curr Deve Nutr 2021 Jun; 5(Suppl 2): 1098.
Vitamin D and depression: the evidence from an indirect clue in treatment strategy. Curr Drug Targets 2018; 19(8): 888-897.
Vitamin D deficiency 2.0: an update on the current status worldwide. Euro J Clin Nutr 2020 Jan 20;74;1498-1513.
Contributed by Allison Tannis, R.H.N.
Known for her deliciously geeky words, Allison’s articles and books are read around the world by those curious about where to find the most delicious (and nutritious) places to stick their forks. More at allisontannis.com. Follow @deliciouslygeeky.