Angela Dowden: Winter comfort eating

Keep warm and avoid extra calories with Angela’s winter top tips

Comfort food is the downfall of many a would-be healthy eater, but with some careful choices you can still eat warming winter favourites and avoid weight gain. A top tip is to eat more watery foods like soups, stews and casseroles, which are warming and satisfying, but healthy too, with not many calories compared with their bulk.

High fibre, complex carbohydrate foods like wholewheat pasta, brown rice, pulses and potatoes give slow release energy. Teamed with lean protein, which has a blunting effect on your appetite, they make perfect winter warming meals.

Try to include 1-2 portions of oily fish (salmon, herrings, sardines etc.) a week. Omega-3s fats in oily fish may help boost your mood.

Brightly coloured fruit and veg like red peppers, carrots, pumpkin and mango are cheery to have on your plate and are high in antioxidants which can boost the immune system.

You can also still indulge in those comforting puddings and sweet treats that you love. Simply swap sugar for Canderel in your baking for a lighter but delicious option.

Some healthier comfort food options:

Reduced fat sausages with a baked potato

A lower calorie alternative to standard bangers and creamy mash!

Canned rice pudding

Only about 180 calories per average serving, and supplies a quarter of your Daily Recommended Allowance of calcium.

Baked beans

Good for you if you go for the reduced sugar and salt variety and serve on whole grain toast.


Keep it low calorie by sweetening with honey, fruit or Canderel.

Creamy Soups

Add a swirl of creme fraiche to light soups for a lower calorie alternative to cream based versions.

Baked apple

Add a little Canderel instead of sugar and serve with low fat custard –making a much healthier option than apple pie and cream