6 Perfect Recipes for Winter Meals

Great meals for cold weather
A bowl of chili with chunks of butternut squash

Chilly weather can bring on a change in appetite, as you leave behind the light summer salads and grill-out foods of summer for heartier, stouter meals that will fill you up and keep you warm all winter long.

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But the cold truth is that no weather warrants unhealthy eating habits. Just as you shouldn’t overdo ice cream during the dog days of summer, you shouldn’t live on a steady diet of hot chocolate and warm cookies during winter.

Winterizing your diet can be healthy — and tasty — if you add a few favorite cold-weather foods. Start with these recipes for some hearty, delicious meals.

White Bean Stew with Rosemary and Spinach

White Bean StewCombining carrots with a mix of greens (celery and spinach) and protein-rich white beans, this vegetarian stew is a perfect batch-cooking concoction and ready to eat in just 30 minutes. Besides getting a bunch of vitamins A, C and K, it’s also rich with iron, potassium and fiber. Just be sure to use low-sodium beans to keep the salt content under control.

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Hearty Minestrone Soup with Farro

Minestone soup with farroVeggies? Check. Protein from beans? Check. Healthy grains? Check.

While cabbage, carrots, onions, tomatoes and kidney beans make for a great classic minestrone soup, it’s the ancient grain farro that kicks things up a notch and gives the soup a nutty flavor. Just be sure to opt for no-salt kidney beans to keep things as healthy as possible.

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese with Butternut SquashMac and cheese is classic comfort food and a staple during the cold winter months, a warm and creamy dish that’s also filling. And while there are all sorts of recipes that feature different twists, this option includes butternut squash as a healthy alternative and also calls for healthier ingredients – reduced-sodium broth, fat-free Greek yogurt – that will leave you feeling satisfied without the nagging guilt of consuming too many calories.

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Spicy Beef Chili with Butternut Squash

Spicy Beef and Butternut chiliYes, butternut squash is a perfect winter vegetable and not just because of its taste. The popular gourd is also quite versatile. Black beans, ground sirloin, onions and red bell pepper make this a flavorful chili dish. To make sure you don’t drive this hearty meal too high on the calorie meter, be sure to use light sour cream, low-fat cheese and low-sodium beans.

Creamy Turkey and Vegetable Casserole

Turkey Vegetable CasseroleCasseroles are perfect for winter eating. Not only does it give you a variety of vegetables (and, thus, lots of nutrients and vitamins) but it’s perfect for freezing and saving. This particular recipe includes turkey, a delicious source of protein, and a medley of vegetables, including potatoes, zucchini, peppers and carrots. And while creamy soups can often be more unhealthy than broth-based soups, this particular recipe calls for a low-fat dairy and chicken broth mix that gives you that creaminess without the calories.

Soba Noodle and Mushroom Soup

Soba Noodles Tofu Spinach Soup

Winter meals are more than just casseroles and chili and you can liven up your dinner with this heart-healthy soup. While the nutty-tasting soba noodles and earthy mushrooms make a perfect flavor pairing, the potassium-rich spinach and protein-packed tofu deliver nutrients and vitamins your body needs.

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