Are you sick of squeezing, sucking in, and eventually undoing your top button come winter? Well, you shouldn’t need to. Contrary to popular belief, there is no evidence suggesting we are predisposed to weight gain in the colder months. However, if you’d still like to be losing weight or at the very least maintaining a healthy weight, you can start boosting the water and fibre content of your meal, and lowering the fat and carbohydrate content. You can also start by trying out these ‘healthy makeovers’ to your favourite winter dinners.
Replacing carb-heavy spaghetti with light ribbons of zucchini in this Zucchini Spaghetti recipe is not only good for your waistline, it cuts cooking time by 75% and doubles your fibre intake!
Give this family favourite a healthy makeover by using smooth ricotta instead of butter-rich béchamel (white sauce), and replacing pasta layers with thinly sliced vegetables – eggplant, sweet potato, zucchini and pumpkin work really well.
Nothing screams comfort like a steaming bowl of curry. To get a rich, coconut taste without the fat, try natural yoghurt with a dash of coconut water. Have a smaller portion and instead of serving on rice, try cauliflower rice or increase your side of greens.
Great for a quick meal, but avoid using sauces with >15g/100ml of sugar (this rules out most of them!). Make your own with tamari, garlic, ginger, chilli, spring onion and a dash of honey. Keep your portion of rice small, or use low-carb ‘konjac’ rice instead.
Perfect for minimising mess! The higher fat content of salmon means it’s less likely to dry out, but keep your portion to 150g for women, 200g-250g for men. Preheat your oven to 180C, line your tray with baking paper, and start roasting cubes of seasoned sweet potato and pumpkin (skin on), sprayed with olive oil. Add your salmon fillets, cherry tomatoes, asparagus and sliced zucchini the final 20 minutes. Squeeze over some lemon juice, and serve!
Australia wants us to eat kangaroo! It’s good for the environment, inexpensive, and has less fat than a skinless chicken breast. Season and flash fry fillets to medium rare, slice thinly and serve on top of a Greek salad.
Serve your beef patties on one slice of bread instead of a bun. For an even lighter patty, bulk up your mince mix with shredded carrot, zucchini, red onion, and stretch out the number of serves.
Studies show that people consume less calories on days they eat soup, and are more likely to shed unwanted weight! Try adding more veggies and 100g of poached chicken to any classic Healthy Winter Soup recipe. You may not need that extra slice of buttered bread!
Another great soup idea to fill you up for less. Prepare a traditional soup base, but use low-carb kelp noodles instead of rice noodles, and double the portion of Asian greens. Top with steamed prawns and lots of fresh bean shoots and herbs. Kelp noodles are made from an edible sea vegetable, are rich in many minerals including calcium and iron, and available in Asian groceries.
Pumpkin has 50% less carbohydrate than sweet potato, making it a much lighter option. Cut a small butternut pumpkin in half horizontally, scoop out the seeds to create a hole, and bake for 40-60 min at 200C. Fill the hole with salad or shredded veggies, ½ cup chickpeas, a generous dollop of cottage cheese and a sprinkle of parmesan. Eat the pumpkin skin too – it’s packed with nutrients!
Written by Samantha Cowan - a Melbourne based Accredited Practising Dietitian and Sports Dietitian who believes that healthy eating should be flavoursome, fast and fuss-free.