Comfort food is calling! Here’s how to enjoy winter and maintain a healthy weight.
It’s easy to reach for comfort foods over the winter months that aren’t always the healthiest choice. Here are five foods you can happily indulge in.
1. Steaming cups of tea
The combo of caffeine and catechins in green tea can help increase heat production and fat burning. While the effect is small, green tea has other healthful properties, such as helping to regulate blood pressure.
2. Vegetable soups
A hearty bowl of soup fills you up, warms your insides and keeps you satisfied. The fibre and vegetables feed the friendly bacteria of your gut microbiome, so they grow and thrive. A US study found that starting your meal with soup can help you consume 20 per cent fewer kilojoules at your meal.
3. Non-starchy vegetables
Aim to fill half your plate with colourful veges. Low-kilojoule vegetables, such as broccoli, capsicum and spinach, are key to helping you feel full for longer, thanks to their satisfying fibre.
4. A spoonful of chilli
There’s evidence that the warmth generated by a tablespoon of chilli can turn up your metabolic rate and fat oxidation, thanks to its active agent capsaicin, so your body burns fat faster. Even if the claim is exaggerated, chilli certainly livens up a plain meal and reduces the need to add salt.
5. Chickpeas, broad beans and other legumes
Replacing half of the meat in recipes with legumes is an easy way to cut kilojoules while boosting your fibre and protein intake, and it won’t cause any great flavour change.
Start small by adding half a cup of cooked or canned kidney beans to a curry; chickpeas into a risotto; or lentils in bolognese.
The bottom line
Ultimately, don’t forget to eat slowly and mindfully, and listen to the signals from your stomach telling you when you’re full and it’s time to stop eating.
Article sources and references
- Flood JE & Rolls BJ. 2007. Soup preloads in a variety of forms reduce meal energy intake. Appetite. 49:626-34https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17574705
- Kiran et al. 2006. Effects of chilli consumption on postprandial glucose, insulin, and energy metabolism. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 84:63-9https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16825682
- Mattes R. 2005. Soup and satiety. Physiology Behavior 83:739-47https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15639159
- Penn State. 2007. Eating soup will help cut calories at meals. ScienceDaily 2 May, 2007https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070501142326.htm
- Yoshioka et al. 2004. Maximum tolerable dose of red pepper decreases fat intake independently of spicy sensation in the mouth. British Journal of Nutrition 91:991-5https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15182402