Hot, crusty breads... Sticky, steaming puddings...
Sweet, warm drinks… Thick, melty sauces…

All the yummy carbs and all the delicious calories. If you’re not drooling already, are you even human!? Everyone knows the tempting call of comfort food - it’s called “comfort food” for a reason! And there’s something mysterious about it that seems to help keep the winter chill at bay, especially if you’re eating your feelings (can we get an ‘Amen’?)

For some reason it seems like it’s easier to eat better in summer, doesn’t it? All those fresh salads and summer meals are easier to prepare and don’t always require much cooking time. Winter-friendly food tends to be a bit carb-heavy, but there’s no reason why you can’t do some tweaking to help you stay motivated to make healthy food choices during the colder months. 

All it takes is a little motivation, a dash of planning and a sprinkle of creativity.

These 5 habits will help keep you on the health track this winter:

1. Plan ahead

We know how it is... Life is busy and time is not always on your side, especially if you have an active, not to mention hungry, family to feed (especially if you have teens in the house - man, those kids can eat!). So it’s completely understandable to want to prep meals as fast as possible so that all your humans are happy and fed. But often the easiest meals aren’t always the healthiest. 

A little planning can prevent those poor food choices! Stock up your fridge or freezer with easy-to-heat meals like soups, broths, stews or curries made over a weekend. You can whip out a meal in the morning and it will be ready for heating when you get home.

Tips and trends:
  • Cooked oats: Nothing beats a hot breakfast in winter, and cooked oats are a super convenient, healthy and delicious way to send your family on their way with full tummies. Slow cooked overnight, drizzled with honey, a splash of milk and sprinkled with dried fruit and nuts - yum!
  • Get a slow cooker: A slow cooker is a game-changer for so many healthy meals if you’re low on time: bone broths, soups, casseroles, stews, slow-cooked meat and veggies. Simply pop all your ingredients in, flip the switch and arrive home to the smell of heaven.

2. Go fresh and seasonal

Seasonal fruit, veg and fresh produce is not only better, but cheaper too! Buy your seasonal veg for the week in bulk, then peel, chop, portion and freeze ahead of time.

Ready-made suppers or pre-packed veggies with sauces and cheese can seem like good choices, but they’re often filled with hidden additives. So wherever you can, prep your meals fresh at home instead of opting for convenient heat-and-eat meals straight off the shelves. That way you control elements like seasoning, salt, sugar and portioning.

Tips and trends:
  • If you’re roasting or steaming veggies for supper, make a little extra to use in tomorrow’s lunch or blitz them into a nice soup.
  • Try to work extra veggies into as many meals as possible: add peas, corn or peppers to your rice dishes, add extra veg to stews and mince, etc.
  • Grow your own herbs to season your favourite dishes and, if you have the space, your own vegetables! It’s so rewarding (and motivating) being able to eat and enjoy something that you grew yourself.

3. Beware brainless binging

You know yourself better than anyone else… So if you’re a serial snacker like us, it might be good to take stock of your eating and snacking habits. Do you tend to stay up late and watch series? Those late-night cravings are real, especially if you have kids and tend to eat early in the evenings. If you spend long hours studying, snacking is essential to keep you going. So how do you beat the temptation to binge?

Tips and trends:
  • Keep a “Series Snack Box” or a “Study Snack Box” nearby for when you get snacky.
  • Fill your snack box with plain popcorn, biltong, nuts, dried fruit, whole wheat or rice crackers, veggie chips, and other healthier options.

4. Use alternatives

Winter meals are often heavy and dripping with creamy sauces. While that’s not always a bad thing in moderation, opting for some healthier choices are better for you, and can also have that comfort factor you crave.

Tips and trends:
  • Keep the pantry stocked with coconut cream, coconut milk, almond milk, and other non-dairy alternative bases for sauces.
  • Swap out hot chocolate powder for pure cocoa or a square of very dark chocolate, milk and a dash of honey.
  • Try brown pasta and brown rice when making meals like mac and cheese, curries and spaghetti bolognaise - just as tasty and better for your gut.

5. Buy online

The snack aisle on an empty stomach is a disaster waiting to happen. You’re much more likely to make healthier purchases if you’ve eaten something beforehand. Even better, online shopping could be the best decision you could make this winter, even if it’s for most of your pantry staples.

Unrushed retail therapy will help you shop with a clear head, as you can make your shopping list ahead of time to minimise impulse buys.

Tips and trends:
  • Set aside a couple of hours each month to load up your grocery cart online.
  • Set a budget and stick to it, prioritising fresh, healthy choices.
  • Just to be safe, maybe don’t shop online while you’re hungry either! :)

Make these healthy seasonal switches to stay on track

  • Instead of fresh, cool summer salads, opt for warm winter salads with butternut, grilled peppers and halloumi.
  • Instead of raw, crunchy veg sticks and dips, go for roast veggie bowls with healthy grains like quinoa and couscous.
  • Cool fruit juices and smoothies can be replaced with cups of naturally flavoured teas, like lemon, peppermint, ginger and rooibos.
  • Rather than reach for hot puddings, cook up some winter fruit like apples, pears, peaches and raisins and serve hot with cinnamon, honey and plain yoghurt.

Winter meals don’t have to leave you feeling ‘meh’. By implementing some of these habits, you can stay on the health train and still enjoy those comfort foods you love - and deserve!

Stay cosy!


Check out these great couple exercises to try at home! 

Stock up on winter pantry essentials at Montagu!

Your healthy winter meals are incomplete without the natural goodness of nuts, seeds and seasonal dried fruit. Sprinkled over warm salads or stirred into your favourite winter dishes, we’ve got you covered with all of your favourites. Find your nearest store or order your essentials online today!
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