Winter is officially underway and that means comfort food is calling us on those cold and windy days. So how can you eat good hearty meals and keep the kilos off as well? TODAY nutritionist Joanna McMillan Price advises on how to curb those cravings.
Contrary to popular advice, Joanna's first tip is to eat high-quality carbohydrates. With fewer sunny hours, your stored serotonin (the feel-good brain chemical) starts to decline. The tendency for your body to crave carbohydrate-loaded comfort foods is caused by your body's need for more serotonin.
The carbohydrates you choose to boost your serotonin levels need to be monitored. Joanna advises it is best to opt for nutritious wholegrains and high-quality carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, pumpkins and squashes.
The consumption of hot foods during the colder months has a number of health benefits as these foods do not only keep your body warm but also help your digestion and ward off cold and flu viruses. Joanna recommends lots of chilli, coriander, ginger and garlic and spices like turmeric. They also flavour your food without you turning to fatty additives like salt, gravy and butter.
One of the best hot foods Joanna recommends you eat is soup as it allows you to stay fuller for longer. It is important that you choose soups that are filled with healthy ingredients such as lentils and beans opposed to creamy flavours.
Research shows that eating healthy soups frequently can lower your daily kilojoule count because it fills you up and you're less likely to indulge in snacks and overeat during other meals.
Joanna reveals her hearty winter soup recipe, which keeps you healthy and trim:
Chicken and barley soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
250gm carrots, finely diced
180gm celery, finely sliced
185gm red capsicum, diced
2 litres reduced salt chicken stock
2 bay leaves
225gm (1 cup) pearl barley
525gm chicken breasts, skin and visible fat removed, cut into small slices
100gm silverbeet, stalks removed and finely sliced
- Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the onion and garlic until softened.
- Add the carrots, celery and capsicum and cook for a further few minutes.
- Add the stock, bay leaves and barley.
- Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and put on the lid. Cook for 15 minutes.
- Add the chicken and cook for a further 30 to 40 minutes until the barley is soft.
- Season to taste and add the silverbeet.
- Cook for a few minutes to wilt and serve.