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Saag, Mushroom & Soups: Must Eat Foods During Harsh Winter That Keep You Warm

Make these foods a staple diet for your families during harsh winters.

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During the winter, you must change what you plate. This is important to stay healthy, warm, and to protect yourself from seasonal flus and infections.

Make these foods a staple diet for your families during harsh winters.

1. Saag

There’s a reason why we get an array of saags in the winter season. They are naturally warming, so it makes sense to overdose on them. In fact, have a saag a day all through the winter.

There are enough to choose from, plus they are inexpensive, loaded with antioxidants, and absolutely delicious. So go on rotate your greens and try them all.

Make these foods a staple diet for your families during harsh winters.
Besides the popular palak (spinach) paneer and sarson (mustard leaves) ka saag, it’s a good idea to move out of our comfort zone and explore more leafy greens like lamb’s-quarter (bathua), fenugreek (methi), ama-ranth (chaulai), drumstick leaves (saijan), purslane (kulfa, ghol, or luni), collard greens (haak), and colocasia leaves (arbi pasta or saru saag).
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2. Carrot Tops & Turnip Greens

Make these foods a staple diet for your families during harsh winters.

Eat more of carrot tops and turnip greens during the winter.

  • Cook mustard leaves with just garlic and onions in olive oil till just barely wilted and fair with a sourdough bread.

  • Cook carrot tops to make chimichurri and pair with carrots or crackers. Just blend chopped carrot greens, dried oregano, cumin, red pepper flakes, garlic cloves, black pepper, and salt. Mix in vinegar and olive oil.

  • Simply sauté turnip greens and season with soy sauce, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper. Add pan fried tofu or some cooked soya chunks.

3. Nuts & Seeds

Snack on a handful of mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts) and seeds (pumpkin, sunflower) everyday. Nuts and seeds are high in minerals and essential fatty acids. They’ll help ward off cold-causing germs.

  • Add some warm crunch to your meals by snacking on nuts like walnuts, peanuts, and almonds.

  • Sprinkle seeds (like sunflower, pumpkin, sesame) on your salads and soups.

  • Savour a glass of badam milk or add them to your cereals.

  • Add nuts liberally to laddos and desserts like gajar ka halwa, custard etc.

Make these foods a staple diet for your families during harsh winters.

4. Mushrooms

These fungi are rich in zinc so help promote the growth of white blood cells to make your body fit. Plus, they are a probiotic food and help strengthen the body from the inside by upping our natural resistance to diseases.

  • Simply sauté and add them to soups, sauces, omelettes, salads, and pizzas.

  • Try mushroom toast. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil. Drop in 2 garlic cloves and sauté for half a minute. Add 100 gm roughly chopped mushrooms and cook till the moisture evaporates (about 5 minutes). Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice, oregano, or any other herb you prefer. Pile onto a multi grain toast and dig in.

Make these foods a staple diet for your families during harsh winters.
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5. Hot Beverages

A steaming cup of chai made with generous amounts of grated ginger helps open up our respiratory track effectively.

  • Try this decoction too: crush ginger, black pepper, and garlic. Boil in two glasses of water till it becomes about a glass. Ginger helps stimulate circulation and ease congestion in the throat and lungs as it has capsaicin that triggers the body's nervous system, and terpenes and “ginger oil” which increase blood circulation to warm up the body.

Make these foods a staple diet for your families during harsh winters.

6. Soup

There’s nothing like a hearty bowl of soup to warm up in the winters. Combine all your favourite vegetables, protein, ginger, garlic, and black pepper for a perfect bowl of soup. Don't forget to season with rosemary and basil, both are warming herbs. Add some peppercorns too as they are perfect to clear blocked up sinuses.

  • Carrot and Ginger Soup: Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan, add one onion, 2 inch ginger, and a few cloves of garlic. Fry for 5 mins until it starts to soften. Stir and add a pinch of nutmeg and cook for 1 min. Pour in 1 liter veg stock, add 200 gm carrots, 100 gm canned beans, then cover and simmer for 20-25 mins until the carrots are tender. Scoop a third of the mixture into a bowl and blitz the remainder with a hand blender. Return everything to the pan and heat until bubbling. Serve topped with 4 tbsp almonds and dash of nutmeg.

Make these foods a staple diet for your families during harsh winters.

Change the Way You Cook

  • Step up the use of whole spices like cloves, cumin, and peppercorns in your curries and use herbs too.

  • Sprinkle some dried coconut flakes to dishes.

  • Add a tsp of ginger juice to fresh fruit juices.

  • Sprinkle rosemary in soups.

  • Use nutmeg liberally.

  • Add basil leaves, ginger shreds, or a bit of cinnamon to your morning cup of tea.

  • End of the day, have warm milk with a tsp of turmeric.

  • End all meals by chewing a bit of fennel.

  • Have dates or jaggery for dessert.

(Kavita Devgan is a nutritionist, weight management consultant, and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of The Don't Diet Plan: A no-nonsense guide to weight loss, Fix it with Food, Ultimate Grandmother Hacks, and The Immunity Diet and 500 Recipes: Simple Tricks for Stress Free Cooking.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Health   Food   Winter 

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