One of the things I love about lentils is that they are so versatile. You can make all different types of soups, stews, dahl, etc. with them. Plus, if you're vegan, you're going to love this! I love trying different cuisine and foods from all over the world, but often I like to make vegan alternatives to dishes so I still have that delicious flavor and abundance of nutrients, just without the added meat.
Lentils are full of protein and fiber as well. Fiber can help with constipation, as it aids the digestive system, pushing everything out! This is very important because those toxins cannot stay in your body. They can cause skin and other health issues. So be sure to get in your fiber. It is said that detoxing can also aid in weight loss. Winter can be rough so anything that can help you feel better (and regular, which = more healthy, daily bowel movements) is great!
Winter Lentil Soup, with a spicy, chili flavor
This lentil soup that I made was spicy and warm to my stomach. Some of the spices that I used were similar to ones used to make chili, like cumin and chili powder, so this soup tasted like chili, just without the usual ground beef. I also added veggies like green pepper and onion. This particular soup isn't "vegan" as I added plain non-fat Chobani yogurt to it. Yogurt is used a lot in Indian dishes and makes for a creamier consistency. But the yogurt is completely optional.
One of my favorite things to do during the winter is to make a big batch of soup or stew and store extra in the freezer to have later. It saves time and is a great way to get in your veggies and other nutrients on days that you don't feel like cutting up a salad, or chopping any vegetable for that matter.
Sometimes I use empty talenti gelato ice cream containers to store food in the freezer. They are sturdy and freeze well. Just don't put them in the microwave!
2. Stir Fry Veggies
I really like stir fry, especially when I don't feel like having a cold salad, but still want to get in my veggies. Stir fry is hot and delicious, and many people crave those warm, comfort foods during the winter, so stir fry away! This simple dish is also diverse as you can have fun mixing up different vegetables of your choice. You can add rice or noodles like I did.
Veggie Stir Fry with rice noodles. Also complements as a side to lentil soup.
Stews can be very hearty and filling. Similar to number one, veggie beef stew (for the meat-eaters :) ) is yummy and can include almost all of the "food groups." You can replace beef with chicken, or even fish like shrimp if you like. Rice, noodles, beans, or other legumes can be included as well.
4. Muesli or Oatmeal
Muesli is literally one of my most favorite foods ever. I usually have it for breakfast with hot water or hot unsweetened almond milk. It contains a lot of good fiber which helps keep you regular, as well as satisfied for many hours. Oatmeal is also good for fiber and for filling you up.
Muesli with frozen berries (thawed) and cinnamon
Berries can be expensive, but I find that a bag of frozen berries can be cheaper and easy to use, as they have a variety of berries all in one bag. You can also use this to make smoothies, a topper for waffles and pancakes, or mixed with yogurt. Berries are full of antioxidants and fiber so they keep you healthy during the winter. And berries are low-glycemic so they are okay to eat as a snack, dessert, or part of a meal at night because they won't spike your blood sugar. (Yay strawberries!) I love cinnamon and like to add it to so many different foods. Cinnamon is also known to help with blood sugar.
5. Tea, Honey
Ah tea. Tea, tea, tea, how I love thee..haha! We all know the health benefits of herbs and tea. There is a wide array of different teas, some that are geared toward specific health problems. Sometimes, especially when I am feeling under the weather, I add honey to my tea, which is known for its antibacterial and antioxidant properties.
Green Tea with honey
6. Lots of Fruit & Veggies!
A lot of people tend to get sick in the winter time and when you are sick, your immune system is down/weakened. This is why it is extremely important to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables as they contain vital nutrients that can help you to get well sooner. A well-rounded healthy diet overall can also aid in prevention of more sicknesses. Your body is craving the healthy properties from these foods and needs to get in as much nutrients as possible so that you will feel at your best again.
7. Lots of Water!
The winter is very beautiful and magical, but it can be very cold as well, so around this time of year, we tend to stay inside a lot. However, without a humidifier, the heater can dry the air in your house. So outside, it may be dry, cold air, but inside, the air is hot and dry still. We need to keep moisture in our body and drinking lots of water can help with that. Drinking plenty of water can prevent a lot of different problems too. If you're interested in weight loss or simply portion control, water can help to keep you full and to keep you from overeating.
I hope you enjoyed these few tips and ideas for staying happy and healthy in the winter!
Stay warm, stay happy, and stay healthy.
Peace and Blessings 💮
**Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, nutritionist, dietician, or any health professional. The views expressed on this blog are based on my own individual research. Some views may result from opinion, experience, and recurrent observations.