6 Healthy Dinners for When It’s Too Cold to Eat Salad

It can be tempting in the cold weather to swap healthy meals for heavier, more comforting foods, but that doesn't have to be the case. A warm and hearty meal in winter can still be packed full of nutritious ingredients to keep you feeling well through the colder months.

If you’re someone who struggles to find the balance between hearty and healthy, here are our top six healthy dinner ideas for when it’s too cold to eat salad.

6 Healthy Dinner Ideas for Winter

1. Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Transform the classic shepherd’s pie into a healthy vegetable-packed version by replacing half of the mince with tinned lentils. Try adding diced carrots, mushrooms, celery and peas to the mix to bulk it up even further. To add to your variety of nutrients, mix sweet potato in with white potato for the topping. A few simple swaps really elevates this winter favourite!

2. Veggie Minestrone Soup

Minestrone soup is a hearty soup that is perfect for a winter’s night. Swap out the bacon that many recipes call for, instead sticking to a vegetarian soup by utilising kidney beans and cannellini beans as your protein. Minestrone soup is also a great way to use up sad, wilted vegetables in the fridge at the end of the week.

3. Vegetable Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos

When nachos come to mind, you might not think of it as a healthy meal. But swapping out the corn chips for baked sweet potato chunks makes this a more filling and high fibre meal, while swapping half of the meat topping for beans also helps to increase the fibre and fullness factor. Top with fresh ingredients for a warm, fun meal in winter.

4. One-pot Salmon Green Curry

One-pot and one-pan dishes are so convenient in winter when you don’t want to spend too much time standing in the kitchen when you could be warming up under a blanket instead! To make a one-pot salmon green curry, simply follow the cooking instructions for your favourite green curry paste, using salmon or chicken, and bulking up the meal with lots of extra vegetables such as carrots, capsicum and bok choy. Serve with brown rice or quinoa for a filling fibre boost.

5. Vegan Baked Eggplant

We’re here to prove that even in winter, you only need vegetables to make a flavoursome and satisfying dish that’ll impress any dinner guests. The eggplant only needs 30 minutes in the oven to get nice and charred, then simply pair it with tomatoes, fresh herbs, zesty lemon and crunchy walnuts. Try this irresistible recipe here.

6. Vegetarian Egg Fried Rice

It’s amazing how you can turn day-old rice, a few simple kitchen staples and any leftovers you have lying in the fridge into something so plentiful and delicious. This meal is filled with nutritious fibre and protein thanks to the vegetables and egg. The beauty of this dish is that you can add any leftover vegetables you have lying in your fridge, so you don't end up throwing out produce at the end of the week. You can also swap out white rice for cauliflower rice, which will triple the veg content of the dish and make it low-carb. Or simply use brown rice for a dose of wholegrains. Here's a simple recipe to help you out. 

Always seek the guidance of your doctor, dietitian or other qualified health professional prior to starting a new eating plan. 

Explore more content like this in our series, Ask a Dietitian

Health & Performance Collective is the brainchild of Sydney Dietitians Jessica Spendlove and Chloe McLeod. They use their 20 years of combined knowledge and skills as dietitians to work with motivated people to live and perform at their best.

Want more recipe ideas? These are the best breakfast foods to improve concentration and productivity.

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