Winter Warmers
Winter Warmers

Healthy Comfort Foods for Winter Afternoons

Comfort food doesn't have to be a guilty pleasure. With a few little adjustments to the recipe, you can enjoy your favourite winter warmers without worrying about your waistline.

Here are 10 healthy twists on classic comfort foods to try this winter.

1. Low-fat roasts
Whether you're cooking chicken, pork or lamb, there are plenty of ways to drop calories from your roasts. Swap the butter for a light brushing of olive oil, use the water from your steamed veggies rather than meat juices for your gravy, and remove the skin before dining.

2. Bean burgers
Burger patties made from black beans, lentils or quinoa are rich in protein and fibre without the fat. You can do even better by using whole grain buns and home-made tomato sauce or fruit chutney rather than store-bought ketchup and mayo, so you can justify that slice of cheddar.

3. Cauliflower mash
Steamed and mashed cauliflower is a nutritious alternative to mashed potato, whether it's served with bangers or topping a healthy shepherd's pie. If you miss the classic mash texture, try a half-and-half mixture of cauliflower and potato or cauliflower with cannellini beans.

4. Sweet potato chips
Another potato alternative, other root vegetables like sweet potatoes, turnips and rainbow carrots can also make compelling chips and wedges when oven-baked, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with paprika and sea salt. Sweet potatoes are rich in dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and C, potassium, and cartenoids that are beneficial for the eyes.

5. Whole wheat pizza
Did you know pizza can be healthy too? Load your whole wheat or tortilla base with nutritious vegetables rather than meat, and cut down on the cheese by choosing a strong-flavoured variety so you won't have to add so much.

6. Zucchini lasagne
Zucchini and aubergine are tasty alternatives to lasagne noodles in a layered lasagne, not to mention being a lot better for you. You can also watch the calories by making your own sauce and favouring veggie fillings over meat.

7. Veggie macaroni cheese
If you feel the craving for mac and cheese, avoid ready meals and make your own veggie-rich dish with steamed broccoli, spinach, tomatoes and other favourite flavours.

8. Avocado brownies
If you love to bake, the flexible brownie is the perfect arena for experimenting. Enjoy a boost of protein and monounsaturated fats with black bean brownies and avocado frosting, and kids will never suspect that they're eating something healthy.

9. Apple crumble
Avoid the trans fats of pastry by making a healthy fruit crumble. Add apples or pears to a food processor with your choice of nuts, seeds, shredded coconut and a dash of honey, then mix until it reaches that perfect crumbly texture. Serve with low-fat vanilla yoghurt rather than ice cream.

10. Hot chocolate
Make your own sweet, soothing hot chocolate using raw cacao powder, almond milk and raw honey for a winter warmer that's high in antioxidants, low in cholesterol and great for digestion.

Grab all the ingredients for your favourite healthy comfort foods from Woolworths Gungahlin.