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Healthy One-Pot Meals

As the days get shorter and the temperatures drop, what is cozier than a nice hot bowl of comfort food? Hearty soups, stews and chilis are great for a cold winter’s evening. They take little prep work and simmer all day, filling the whole house with aromas that arouse feelings of comfort and love. Many are already healthy choices and the rest can be tweaked with just a few simple substitutions or additions.

Chili when you’re chilly? Chili is packed full of protein, fibre and complex carbohydrates. Want to eliminate some of the saturated fats found in ground beef? Substitute with lean ground turkey or chicken for an equally delicious but lower fat version of your favourite recipe. This dish is especially good for you because it contains cholesterol lowering, blood sugar stabilizing, nutrient dense beans. Although chili is traditionally made with kidney beans, dare to be different next time and substitute for a can of mixed beans. Not only does each variety of bean taste unique, they also contain many different nutrients.

And what about chicken soup? Isn’t it one of the most classic comfort foods out there? It is! And for good reason. It isn’t only good for the soul, it’s good for the body too. Chicken soup contains anti-viral and anti-bacterial onions and garlic that help strengthen the immune system. The broth also helps break up congestion and increase nasal secretions which helps shorten the duration of your cold. If you feel under the weather this winter, curl up with a box of Kleenex and a bowl of chicken soup and you’ll be feeling better in no time!

And then there’s stew. While stew is often referred to as a poor man’s food due to its use of inexpensive cuts of meat and ever abundant root vegetables, its all-day flavour could not be richer. Stew is an excellent opportunity to clean out the fridge at the end of the week without throwing it all away! Try adding beta carotene rich carrots, potassium filled potatoes, antioxidant dense turnips, blood pressure reducing celery and cancer reducing onions to the broth for a hearty delicious flavor that cannot be matched.

Well, that’s it! A complete menu for the cold winter ahead of us. Not really, but it sure would be nice! Those soups, stews and chilis bubbling away all day in a single pot or crock pot can be delightful. In fact, the longer they simmer the more tender the meat and heartier the flavour. As an added bonus, each of these meals tastes even better the second day and make excellent leftovers! Impress your family and friends with the all day taste and aroma of comfort food. With a little luck and a bit of skill in the kitchen, I feel this could be the best winter yet!


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