Healthy Winter Recipes That Can Help You Achieve Balance

salmon and asparagus on  a plate
Low-carb winter recipes can be nutritious and delicious when they are balanced! Use them to help you stay energized through the colder months.
by Cheryl S. Grant

It's important to maintain a healthy diet year-round, as you know, but there's something about cold weather that makes people crave comfort food. Especially during wintertime — when many meals are made with rich ingredients and feature lots of carbohydrates — it can be tempting to overindulge. But eating the right amount of carbs for you can help you feel your best.

While some people may require a higher daily intake, many researchers recommend eating carbs in moderation. It's important to decide for yourself how many carbs you need. A great way to do that is by experimenting with a couple healthy winter recipes!

For starters, it's best to choose complex carbs and skip anything processed. Try to stick to fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You probably won't need to do a complete pantry makeover — you may already have a lot of what you need! It's best to begin by making small changes, like switching out white bread for whole grain or multigrain.

Here are some healthy winter recipes you can try for morning, noon, and night.

Breakfast

Nothing warms you like a delicious bowl of oatmeal on a chilly morning, right? Use steel-cut (or rolled) oats and try to skip packaged versions, as they can be in high in sugar. You can balance your selection by making the oatmeal with low-fat or no-fat milk, or by topping it with 0% fat plain Greek yogurt.

Scrambled eggs are a good low-carb source of protein, and they go really well with some toasted whole-grain bread. You could also add avocado slices, tomatoes, and salsa for flavor. Egg whites work just as well!

As a rule, you should always try to balance your healthy winter recipes with protein and fiber. If you have no time in your morning for meal prep, you can mix a cup of 0% fat Greek yogurt with nuts and fresh fruit for a balanced treat. This also works great as a midday snack.

Lunch

Not a huge fan of the taste of vegetables? You can puree them and add the mixture to your favorite soups! This type of dish makes for a great lunchtime meal because it can be both filling and healthy.

Bean-based soups in particular are excellent options because legumes contain a great balance of carbs, fiber, and protein — just avoid recipes that drown them in cream sauces. Black beans, lentils, and cannellini beans can add great flavor as a base or stand-alone. If you plan on using canned soups, be sure to check the sodium content first.

Salads might seem like nothing more than a bunch of leaves with a bit of dressing, but they don't have to be! For a hearty winter salad, use spinach instead of lettuce and add grilled chicken, red onions, feta cheese, and tomatoes. Quinoa mixed with onions, tomatoes, black beans, sweet peppers, and corn is also a good choice.

Dinner

It's a good idea to eat healthy dishes at dinnertime, as the meal is typically your last of the day. Try combining some brown rice (or farro) with steamed broccoli and a 3.5-ounce portion of cooked fish, like salmon. If fish isn't your thing, grilled chicken also works well! You can season the seafood or poultry with sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice.

As you plan healthy winter recipes to try this season, keep in mind that the American Heart Association recommends having just eight or nine servings of poultry, meat, and eggs in total per week. Check the organization's website for more information around the recommended serving sizes.