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Cozy up to winter comfort foods

Enjoy comforting foods throughout the cold weather.

With the chilly, sometimes challenging weather, nothing sounds better during the winter than cozying up inside with a warm meal. Soups, stews, chili, casseroles, and pasta are all favorites during the colder months. These recipes can traditionally be heavier, but luckily there are easy ways to increase their nutritional value.

  • Bulk up the fiber. Add vegetables to soups, pastas, and casseroles. This adds filling fiber and ensures the dish will keep you satisfied for several hours. Chopped tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and spinach go well in Italian dishes. Add celery, carrots, and garlic to pot-pies, casseroles, or chicken noodle soup. Choose seasonal produce to add even more nutrition and save at the grocery store.
  • Make simple heart healthy swaps. There are easy swaps to reduce fat in recipes. Greek yogurt has double the protein of sour cream as well as less fat, and it can be used as a replacement with no taste compromise. Use olive oil or grapeseed oil as a partial or complete replacement for butter, shortening, or vegetable oil. Replace all the fat in cake recipes with equal amounts mashed bananas, pumpkin, unsweetened applesauce, non-fat yogurt, or non-fat sour cream.
  • Keep flavor up while reducing sodium. Many broth-based dishes can be high in sodium. Use low- or no-sodium broth, or a mixture of regular and reduced sodium. Use fresh herbs, vinegar, and lemon or lime juice to add a fresh pep to recipes. Spices such as garlic powder, smoked paprika, Italian seasoning, and oregano add flavor without adding salt. Cook using wine for more complex flavors.
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