By Christy Tapocsi, YMCA Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

It’s exciting to hit the ground running with fresh plans for 2018. Some of your SMART goals may be to eat vegetables three times a week for one month or to add whole grains to your plate four days of the week.

However, doesn’t this cold weather make that tough at times because our bodies want something warm? Let’s be honest, most of our comforting, warm dishes are higher in calories and fat. That’s why I’m here to help!

Here are some healthy winter recipes that will keep you on track to fulfilling your healthy goals.

Black Bean and Chicken Chili from Just a Little Bite

There is something so comforting about chilis and casseroles. In this recipe, simple swaps have been made to increase the nutrient content and decrease the fat, calories and/or salt.

In this chili recipe, replace the ground beef with ground chicken or turkey for a leaner meat option. The protein and fiber content is increased with a variety of beans. By adding warming spices like chili powder and cumin, the sodium content is reduced.

Get the recipe here.

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore by Healthy Seasonal Recipes

Slow Cooker Chicken CacciatoreThe slow cooker is a great kitchen tool, especially this time of year. You get the warm comfort meal without too much effort. Win-Win! But most of the recipes we find for slow cooker meals require cream-of-something soups. These canned soups increase the fat and salt content. But you can easily make your own healthier version at home. Here is a recipe that is delicious and canned-soup-free.

This chicken cacciatore is full of flavor with Italian seasoning and paprika. The addition of herbs and spices lowers the sodium content in the recipe.

Get the recipe here.

Creamy Tomato Soup by the Recipe Rebel

Winter is soup season, but that doesn’t mean you have to eat it out of the can. Soups are a classic comfort food that you can pack full of veggies such as pumpkin, spinach and tomatoes. They are a great way to use leftover veggies, too. When a recipe calls for whole milk or heavy cream, you can simply add in a lower fat milk to reduce the fat content, but not the flavor.

Try this homemade version of creamy tomato soup. This recipe is full of vegetables (not just tomatoes) for an extra boost of vitamins and minerals!

Get the recipe here.

Establish Healthy Habits with the Y
Ready for a healthier eating approach? Get more healthy winter recipes here and get information on nutrition counseling and wellness support services offered at your local YMCA. Visit their website for more and find a YMCA near you: