With still a month or more of cold weather ahead of us, it’s not yet time to begin pulling out our springtime duds. And with flu season reaching its peak just about now, eating healthy foods and dressing warmly should stay at the forefront of our minds. Thankfully, there is an array of healthy and immune boosting meals that are perfect for cold-weather times.
Here are our top five picks.
- Your mother’s chicken soup.
Yes, your mother was right about chicken soup. Recent studies show that drinking chicken soup can help to fight against cold and flu symptoms. You want to get the kind made from scratch poultry bases because the magic is in the bone broth. This soup is also said to reduce inflammation and joint pain, as well as stimulate the growth of collagen in your body. Plus, chicken soup is perfect with onions, carrots, and other winter vegetables that your body needs to ward off seasonal viruses. And aside from all these reasons, chicken soup is that ageless comfort food perfect for gloomy, grey days.
- Winter vegetable pie.
Think of shepherd’s pie, but instead of meat and cheese being one of the ingredients, use vegetables only. Wrapped in a perfect flakey crust, the vegetables come alive. So much so that you won’t miss the meat. Add carrots, cauliflower, garlic, tomato, potato and peas and you will be getting your entire daily dose of veggies all in one meal. It is hard to find another meal more chockful of vitamins and vegetables.
- Lentil soup with flair.
Indian curried lentil soup, Greek fakes soup, and so many others, all use lentils as its base. Lentils are a high-protein option that is perfect for those who are watching their weight but still want something filling and nutritious. Common additional ingredients of lentil soup also amp up the nutrition content. For example, onions, carrots, parsnip, yogurt, potatoes and garlic. Lentils themselves are packed with calcium, potassium, vitamin K, zinc, and more!
- Chinese egg drop soup.
We used to think that eggs were cholesterol-laden little monsters. But in fact, eggs are not that terrible for you. But according to recent studies, eating eggs in moderation will not affect your cholesterol to a significant level. Eggs are a fantastic and safe source of protein, vitamins, and healthy fatty acids. So if you are craving egg drop soup on a wintry day, go right ahead!
The other ingredients in egg drop soup are also not to be missed. Grate some fresh ginger in there and you’re getting a potent anti-inflammatory. Ginger is also said to relieve indigestion and reduce menstrual pain. Other healthy additions include green onions, spinach, and garlic. For a low-fat version of this healthy soup, use just the egg whites and skip the yolk.
- Black bean quesadillas.
To save this list from only featuring soups, enter the humble quesadilla. But with the right garnishes and toppings, this can turn into a hearty dish that heals, energizes, and satiates where soups might fall short. Black beans are an excellent source of protein for those who are looking for a non-meat source. With very little saturated fat and no cholesterol, black beans also provide more antioxidant activity than any other type of bean. (It contains about the same amount as apples and cranberries, two fruits that are considered antioxidant staples.) Black beans are also high in fiber, calcium, and iron.
The simple quesadilla can be elevated further by adding avocado slices, tomato, and fresh leafy greens. Avocado is well known for its vitamin K, folate, and vitamin C properties. Hearty, filling, yet quick to make, it’s hard to find a better meal.
This year’s flu season numbers are showing steep highs. And with the common winter cold to guard against, take extra precautions by eating these health-boosting meals.