Warm Up with Winning Winter Foods

Somehow, the scorching days of summer have quickly faded and the frost is settling in. I am trading in my regular smoothie for something that will warm me up as I wake up to brisk fall mornings. Here in the south, the seasonal cool down seemed to happen even earlier than usual this year, which means we could be in for a long winter. When the days are shorter and the nights are cooler, my craving for warm comfort food grows. Below are three of my favorite winter foods that not only warm me up, but also provide a powerhouse of nutrition to help keep me healthy throughout the winter season.

Oatmeal: Nothing satisfies me more on a winter morning than a piping hot bowl of oatmeal. Oatmeal is high in fiber and studies show it can increase satiety (feeling of fullness) and decrease food intake throughout the day. Additionally, making oatmeal with milk instead of water increases the protein and other key nutrients (including calcium, potassium and vitamin D) in your bowl. A combination of oats and milk in the morning will warm you up and ensure a nutritious start to your day. Click here for some oat-mazing recipes!

Soup: Around lunchtime, I am ready for another warm-up and a warm bowl of soup often hits the spot. From bean to butternut squash to broccoli and cheese, the right soup choice is packed full of super foods. Although I love to make my own soups on a busy weekday, my favorite go-to is a can of tomato soup made with milk and served alongside a grilled cheese sandwich. The dairy in this combo provides more than 15 grams of protein.

Hot Chocolate: While many may view hot chocolate as a special treat, I view it as a nutritional boost. Made with a cup of fat-free milk, a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder and two teaspoons of sugar, this “treat” is less than 150 calories, has zero fat and is a soothing way to end my day. Not only does milk’s unique nutrient package offer protein and 8 other essential vitamins and minerals, cocoa powder has phytonutrients that can help lower blood pressure and may help fight cancer. That’s my kind of treat!

What’s your favorite winter warm-up food? 

LauraBuxenbaum_headshot_smallLaura Buxenbaum, MPH, RD, LDN