The winter months in the UK can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. Short, dark days that are often stormy or wet tempt us to snuggle down in the warm with comfort food, wine and chocolate. The thought of a nourishing salad is far from our thoughts.
Eating foods that don’t nourish our bodies often seems like a good idea at the time. And it’s important to give yourself a break and remember that we’re all human. Ultra-processed foods are designed to make us keep eating, even when we know we should stop. But all is not lost!
Comforting salads for the winter months
If ‘salad’ conjures up visions of lettuce, tomato, and cucumber it’s easy to discount salads during the colder months. But salads don’t have to be cold or boring. They can be warm and comforting. They can be full of all the nutrients you need to stay healthy. Add protein and you have a delicious, healthy meal you can conjure up quickly and easily.
Five reasons to eat warm winter salads:
1. They’re comforting and delicious
Add warm ingredients to some leaves and other salad items and you’ll have the best of both worlds. You get warm comfort food like sweet potatoes and squashes, salmon or chicken. Combine these with fresh, natural, zingy ingredients like salad leaves, pomegranate seeds, spring onion, or grilled artichokes and you get a taste explosion. Amazing!
2. You can eat seasonal winter ingredients
The winter months bring a variety of hearty, tasty ingredients like root vegetables, winter greens, and citrus fruits. Consuming seasonal, locally produced food is better for the planet and better for you. You’ll get the freshness and nutritional benefits of food that hasn’t travelled thousands of miles or been picked and stored unripe.
3. You’ll eat a nutritious, balanced diet that helps with weight loss
A warm winter salad is not just a plate of leaves. You can include warm or cold proteins, pulses, and grains too. Instead of filling up on calorie-dense, nutritionally deficient ready meals or ‘stodge’, you’ll be creating a well-rounded, filling, and appetising meal to support your immune system and overall health.
4. They are easily adapted and versatile
Don’t like sweet potato but love beetroot? Swap it out. Not sure about salmon but chicken would be perfect? Choose the chicken! Vegetarian or vegan? No problem; experiment and adapt your salads to your taste, preferences, and the availability of your ingredients.
5. They are quick and easy to make
As long as you’ve got the right store cupboard ingredients you can always throw together a quick warm salad.
Top tips for making delicious winter salads
- Stock up your store cupboard with nuts, seeds, dried fruits, grilled vegetables in olive oil, tinned oily fish, seasonings, vinegars, oils, tahini, miso, harissa paste, and so on.
- Choose winter vegetables like carrots, parsnip, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and kale and don’t forget basic salad ingredients too.
- Roast extra vegetables when you’re cooking another meal or throw some into your air fryer, if you have one.
- Vary your ingredients as well as the warm and cold elements. Many vegetables can be used raw or cooked, cold or warm. Proteins can also be served warm one day, cold another.
- If appropriate, take your cold ingredients out of the fridge before you need them so they can come to room temperature.
Looking for inspiration for your warm salads?
You’ll find plenty of ideas and recipes on Fearless in the Kitchen’s Instagram and Facebook pages and don’t forget to check out our online cooking classes too. And if you’re a business looking to adopt employee nutrition and wellness strategies for a healthy, happy, and motivated workforce, we can tailor a healthy-eating workshop to your needs. Get in touch!