Indulging in a few warming foods during the winter months even for the lucky ones living in Hawaii, is a healthy thing to do: increases circulation, most are anti microbial, and anti-inflammatory. I live in Hawaii… and yes, it is warm and sunny at the beach however, I live at 3000 feet so the mornings and evenings can be quite chilly ( it was 39F the other morning and the houses are not insulated!). I recently wrote a blog about brewing warming herbs to make a sweet cup of tea so following up with a post that indulges taste buds with warm comforting winter foods was a must.
Here are my top 4 ( or 6!)
Onions and garlic
Onions and garlic are a perfect combination addition to almost all meals. I add them to my soups, sauces, and almost everything that I sauté.
Healthy reason to indulge: Both of these are antimicrobial meaning they help your immune system be strong and fight off any germ – bacterial or viral – from forming a cold. An added plus, both benefit the heart and may help lower cholesterol due in part to their allicin content.
Healthy garlic tip: Add the garlic at the end of any sauté. It may easily burn and lose its flavor.
Although almonds are available year round, they are a very good winter food to warm up your insides.
Healthy reason to indulge: Almonds are packed with vitamin e and manganese – benefit the skin ( everyone loves glowing skin) – and monounsaturated fat ( like olive oil) which is highly beneficial for the heart.
Healthy way to indulge: I like to throw a few sliced raw almonds into a salad for a sweet crunch or carry them as a fiber, nutrient and protein rich snack during the day.
As a child, mushrooms were the only thing ( okay one of the only things) that I would not eat. It was most likely due to how they were presented plus being served the bland white mushroom. There are a vast array of mushrooms that are vibrant in texture and flavor. However, I realize that most kids will not go near one but you can cut them quite small and add them to a soup or sauce and the kids might not notice.
Healthy mushrooms varieties: Crimini, portobello and shiitake are my favorites.
Healthy reason to indulge: The taste is what I adore most but when looking at all their health benefits, one can not resist giving them a try. They are extremely anti- inflammatory which helps with helps every organ and system in the body. In addition, they may help reduce immune cells binding to blood vessel walls reducing risk of any blood vessel damage and circulatory problems. They also boost immune system function by optimally fueling the white blood cells.
Healthy way to indulge: I recommend eating them sautéed ( maybe with some onions and garlic?) as a side dish or at the end of saute, add collard greens to create a delicious meal. If you can not imagine eating mushrooms, I suggest to take a mushroom complex supplement – Innate MaikeGold 404 – which you can purchase through Emerson Ecologics on my site.
( check out this blog post on best mushrooms)
Kale and Collards
My mouth waters when I think about sautéing onions, garlic, red pepper flakes and a dark green veggie.
Healthy reason to indulge: Most research of these greens have found them to help prevent cancer. They are full of fiber, chemicals that aid the liver in detoxifying substances the body does not need, and they are anti-inflammatory ( My friend Julie Daniluk has written a fabulous book on inflammation that everyone should read).
Healthy way to indulge: Most kids will try red chard with some apples and nuts. Adding the greens to a soup is a good way to get a healthy dose of them.
Healthy reminder: These greens can become over cooked quite fast so pay close attention when cooking them. Usually it only takes 5 minutes or less to saute them up perfectly.
A little side note: One of my favorite books is, Staying Healthy with the Seasons. In this book, the author mentions that the element of water is associated with this season. In the body, the bladder and the kidneys are the areas where we might want to consider giving a little extra TLC too during the winter months. All of the foods mentioned above, will sooth, support and nourish these organs.
Please share any recipes that you have that include any of these foods ( or other winter warming foods). I am always on the hunt for simple kid friendly yet healthy meals and I am sure that I am not alone!
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