As it gets colder and the days get shorter, you often want to hole up at home and indulge in something sweet. But there are alternatives to this: Here are the ten healthiest foods to get you through the winter fit and slim.
In winter, the urge for sweets increases. This is due to the fact that we get less of the sun’s beneficial rays and therefore produce less vitamin D. This vitamin, however, is important for an adequate body temperature. However, this vitamin is important for sufficient serotonin production. And since our bodies no longer produce enough happiness hormones themselves, we like to help out with sweets. That’s fine to a certain extent, of course – after all, what would Christmas be without cookies? However, there is a wide range of healthy and regional foods that are in season in winter and that can help you get through the cold season fit, slim and full of energy.
Whether white or red, both varieties of cabbage are true classics of Austrian cuisine. Whether Krautfleckerl as a main course or an apple red cabbage as a side dish to Martinigansl, cabbage is always a delight. And an extremely healthy one at that: It contains hardly any calories, but a concentrated load of vitamins C, B, and E, folic acid, calcium, and magnesium as well as fiber. Thus cabbage is the ideal satiation. If you pay attention to a low-fat preparation, you can fill up your plate properly. To counteract unpleasant flatulence after eating a large portion of cabbage, it is recommended to always prepare the cabbage with some caraway seeds.
We especially recommend sauerkraut, which has a particularly probiotic effect due to fermentation by lactic acid bacteria and supports the immune system. Even those who were ill in the winter and had to resort to antibiotics will subsequently benefit from sauerkraut: the bacteria it contains help to rebuild the intestinal flora, and the next cold thus has no chance. By the way, the seafarers also appreciated sauerkraut: The long shelf life and the high vitamin C content protected the crew from the dangerous disease scurvy.
Kale is particularly popular in northern Germany, but even in this country, you should quietly eat more of it. The vegetable provides calcium, iron, vitamins, and – as a little tip for vegetarians – protein. 100 grams of kale contain more than four grams of protein, but virtually no fat. If you also prepare the kale in a low-fat way, you really do yourself some good by eating this type of cabbage. How about healthy kale chips, for example?
It doesn’t always have to be a piece of chocolate, even a local apple can reduce the gusto for sweets. You can take the saying “One apple a day keeps the doctor away” seriously: With over 30 vitamins and trace elements, an apple is a real powerhouse, and thanks to the pectins it contains, it is also filling – the ideal snack for the afternoon slump. With so many varieties available, it’s easy to lose track of which one to choose. In terms of health, however, it is advisable to prefer old varieties (e.g. Boskop, Golden Delicious), as these not only taste good but usually also use fewer sprays and contain more healthy polyphenols.
If you feel the first signs of flu, it is worthwhile to reach for ginger. The gingerols contained in the tuber warm the body. In addition, ginger also helps against nausea and pain – the ingredients act in the body similarly to the active ingredient acetylsalicylic acid known from aspirin. So a hot tea with ginger and lemon is never wrong in winter.
Another great tuber that also tastes fantastic: Jerusalem artichoke. The fiber it contains, inulin, not only fills you up for a long time, it also ensures an intact intestinal flora. And a healthy intestine is the basis of a stable immune system. The taste reminds a little of artichokes, in the kitchen Jerusalem artichoke is versatile and gives, for example, soups or puree that certain something.
Admittedly, perhaps because the bitter substances contained not everyone’s taste, but you should give this vegetable a chance. Chicory is especially popular in Belgium. The vitamins B1, B2, and C it contains provide energy in the cold season. The bitter substances have a positive effect on digestion and also have a blood sugar-lowering effect. If you don’t like the taste of chicory, try soaking the leaves in lukewarm saltwater for a milder taste.
In autumn a true classic: the pumpkin. Available in countless varieties – about 800 are known – in this country especially the nutmeg, butternut and Hokkaido pumpkin is appreciated. Whether as warming pumpkin soup or refined lasagna – this vegetable makes food glow. The beautiful color comes from the beta-carotene it contains, a precursor to vitamin A, which is especially important for eyesight and vision. But in order for the body to absorb the carotenoids it contains, it needs fat: a dash of high-quality olive oil is just right for this.
Botanically a cross between parsley and carrot, parsnips are known to many as a soup vegetable. However, this root also makes a great solo dish and is an ideal side dish with a pleasant sweet taste. Parsnips provide long-lasting satiety, contain hardly any fat, are full of calcium and phosphorus, and the essential oils provide an antibacterial effect. How about a vegan cream of parsnip soup?
Especially during wartime, nutritious rutabagas formed an important basis of the diet. The turnips can be harvested between September and April and contain a lot of vitamin C as well as calcium and antioxidants. At the same time, they are low in calories and virtually fat-free – perfect for a figure-conscious diet. Just please do not eat them raw, as they are inedible in this state. It is best to cook the turnips for about 40 minutes in a little water, so they develop their wonderfully sweet taste, which also appeals to children.