Winter recipes that put a spring in your step

It can be hard to keep your energy up in the darker days of winter, but the right food can make all the difference. From a comfort casserole to healthy winter salads, here are our three favourite cold-weather warmers.

Eating healthily in the summer is so much easier – the long sunny days just cry out for salads and smoothies. But as autumn and winter come round, so does the temptation to tuck into carb-heavy feasts and stodgy treats.

To keep your energy levels up and ward off illness, it’s essential for the whole family to eat well – and luckily that doesn’t need to mean steamed celery all winter! A few careful choices mean you’ll be able to go for comfort food while still maintaining a healthy diet. Here are some great healthy winter recipes to get you going.

Sausage and bean casserole

In winter we want to make easy meals that will refuel us and taste great. Once you’ve done the prep, this easy winter recipe simmers away while you get on with your evening.


Ready in 60 minutes

1. Chop a large onion, any root vegetables you have and a couple of garlic cloves, then lightly fry in olive oil in a hob-proof dish. Onions help balance blood sugar levels, and have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Keep veg choices colourful – the variety helps put a wider array of vitamins and minerals on your plate.
2. After about five minutes, add in 400g sausages and lightly fry until cooked. Too much processed or fatty food in your diet will make you feel sluggish, so go for lean, high-welfare sausages if you can.
3. Add stock, fresh herbs if you have them, and a 400g tin each of borlotti and red kidney beans. Beans offer fibre, B-vitamins, minerals like iron and zinc, protein and are a slow-release source of glucose, so you’ll feel fully refuelled.
4. Cook slowly for about 45 minutes and serve with hunks of wholemeal bread, or brown rice for an added energy boost.


Power soups for winter
Slow-cooker recipes: stew, soup, chicken and beef
Three spicy stews to warm your cockles

Quinoa and veggies

Gluten-free, protein-packed, nutrient-rich and easy to cook, quinoa really is a super food. It’s a perfect no-hassle replacement for bread, rice or pasta.

tasty christmas


Ready in 20 minutes

1. Mix a large jug of vegetable stock, add to a pan and set to boil, then add the quinoa. (Refer to the quinoa packaging as a guide to how much stock you need per 100g of the grain.) Simmer until the liquid is absorbed.
2. Meanwhile, lightly sauté any vegetables you fancy, cut into strips or shreds. From Brussels sprouts to red peppers, anything will suit – offering a wonderful source of vitamins and minerals.
3. Lightly season the vegetables and mix them into the still-warm quinoa, and serve immediately.


Hot packed tummy-filler ideas
Healthy winter vegetables
Healthy ingredients for family meals

Warm spinach salad with salmon

You might usually associate salads with summer, but in winter they can pack a serious energy-punch and be improvised with whatever you have in the cupboard.


Ready in 10 minutes

1. Make a bed of iron-rich baby spinach leaves either washed and whole or very lightly sautéed until wilted.
2. Toss in halved cherry tomatoes, grated carrot and pumpkin seeds lightly toasted on a metal tray in the oven for a few minutes. Seeds like these are rich in protein, fibre and minerals, helping you feel energised and full without overeating.
3. Grill or lightly fry the salmon fillet, sprinkled with herbs and a little olive oil, to taste. Salmon is wonderful for omega-3 fatty acids to combat cholesterol, as well as B6, niacin, riboflavin and protein. In a few minutes it will be cooked and can be flaked over your salad, or placed whole on top.


Seasonal eats for autumn and winter
Recipe: crunchy grilled cod
How to tackle fish smells after cooking


In the grey days of winter, eating for energy is an excellent way to give yourself a lift. Maximise the impact by eating three regular meals a day. If you stick to the same mealtimes, your body starts to get used to this and you won’t feel so hungry inbetween times. For more ideas to keep your zing during the cold months, read Winter energy boosters.

How do you keep going during the winter months? Let us know your favourite winter ideas in the comments below.