The Fattiest Foods of Winter: What to Avoid
Winter is a great time for comfort food . . . somehow heavy meals seem to fit the mood and just taste better than in the cooler months. But, it’s easy to overeat when the weather is cold and the food is hot! Fatty winter foods can wreak havoc on your figure, but they don’t have to if you’re conscious of their “fat trap.” Let’s take a look at a few of the fattiest foods of winter.
When the weather turns chilly, watch out for these fatty comfort foods:
While chili and stew can fit into a balanced diet occasionally, they tend to be eaten in excess during the wintertime. The fact that these hearty dishes are usually chock-full of beef and cry out for a generous topping of cheese is enough to put this dish into the “fattening” category. If you must have chili or stew, shift the focus towards the beans and/or vegetables and away from the meat. Or prepare your chili or stew with turkey or chicken, which is a much better choice than the fattier beef.
Other soups to avoid or eat in moderation include creamy soups or chowders. As tempting as it is to settle down with a big bowl of clam, corn, or potato chowder, these soups tend to be full of fat and calories. They can be altered to be lower in fat by substituting low-fat cream for the heavier version.
Potpies, those perennial favorites of cold weather cuisine, are also high in fat content. It makes sense when you stop to consider that a pastry crust surrounds the high-fat, creamy filling. Pastries are made with shortening (which is basically grease), or butter. Although making your own potpie at home may cut some of the fat, it probably won’t be enough to make this a healthy choice. Go for an alternative, like baked or grilled chicken with steamed vegetables.
Macaroni and cheese, a favorite among kids and grown-ups alike, is another wintertime staple that is packed with fat and calories. The fact that it centers on cheese and milk makes it hard to avoid the extra calories those foods contain. However, if you simply cannot do without some mac-n-cheese this winter, make your own low-fat version. Simply use low-fat milk instead of the normal whole milk or cream. If your recipe is a custard-type dish that calls for eggs, substitute two egg whites for each egg needed. This will help cut down on the fat content while keeping the flavor of your Mac intact.
Wintertime brings holidays and holidays mean cookies. Many people indulge in cookies with the assumption that such a small morsel really cannot be that bad for you. Wrong! Cookies can be like little fat-calorie bombs with a ton of fat contained in just a few bites. Add in the fact that most people will go back for seconds or thirds and you have a dangerous combination. As with all foods, though, you can enjoy this dessert if you watch your portions.
Another popular dessert during the holiday season is cheesecake. This dessert is extremely high in fat, from the buttery graham cracker crust to the rich cream cheese filling. To satisfy your cheesecake craving, make your own with low-fat versions of cream cheese and sour cream.
Winter foods don’t have to be high in fat to be satisfying. You can generally substitute lower fat and lower calorie ingredients when making your own food or find a low-fat version on the menu when eating out. And, despite the many wintery food temptations, eating right through the winter months is not impossible . . . it just takes a little extra effort.