The best healthy winter recipes are those that that fill you up, warm you up, and nourish your whole body (without leaving you totally stuffed).
It’s tempting to turn to heartier comfort foods in the wintertime, but we all know that a big old pot of mac n’ cheese or hefty helping of grandma’s loaded baked potato casserole isn’t exactly ideal for those of us who are trying to stick to healthier eating habits.
In winter, it’s only natural to want to eat more foods that are hot and moist rather than cold and raw given that the season tends to dry out our skin and leave us feeling chilled to the bone.
I know I’m far more likely to switch to eating more soups and stews rather than raw salads in the winter just because I get more satisfaction from the warmth and extra fluids.
Winter, I think, is one of the best times of the year to experiment with new recipes.
It gets darker earlier and it’s cold out all the time, so you’re spending more time indoors anyway.
The fall harvest also brings in lots of fresh, nutrient-dense vegetables from the end of the growing season that you can find easily in grocery stores throughout the winter months.
I personally LOVE to cook with cabbage, brussels sprouts, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, onions and squash in the winter.
The following list of 25 healthy winter recipes are my absolute favourite cold weather recipes to make.
I’ve made each and every one of them at least once, but there are many that I’ve made several times because they’re THAT good.
Each recipe comes from a food blog I found on Pinterest, so all you have to do is click on the title of the recipe, the image, or the link at the end of its description to go to the recipe page.
This dish tastes just like a loaded baked potato casserole, only better!
Swapping the potatoes for cauliflower makes it a low-carb, low-calorie casserole and the addition of chicken offers an additional boost of protein.
What I like about this healthy winter recipe is you can go easy on the cheese if you’re really watching your calories and even swap regular bacon for turkey bacon if you want.
Who knows, you might never go back to potatoes after trying this!
I made this last week for the first time, and I have to say, it was a big hit.
The apples and the cinammon intermingling with the chicken, bacon, potatoes and brussels sprouts really make for a unique taste.
And to top it off, it was super easy to make. Honestly, the hardest part is chopping everything.
This is definitely one for those dark and cold winter nights when you’re not willing to put a ton of effort into making dinner, but you don’t want to skimp on the flavour or nutritional aspects either.
Here’s another comfort food turned healthy, low-carb option for those of us who don’t mind subbing potatoes for cauliflower.
This shepherd’s pie packs in all the flavours of meat and veggies, but is less heavy thanks to the mashed cauliflower topping.
This healthy winter recipe also calls for lean groun turkey instead of beef, which is great if you’re looking to cut down on red meat.
I personally make this dish once every few weeks throughout the fall, winter and even the early spring because it just tastes so good.
Sometimes I even double the batch and bake it in my larger, glass casserole dish so that there’s more to go around.
Trust me, you’re going to want a second helping! And the best part is that you won’t have to feel guilty about it.
Chicken breast is one of the leanest sources of protein you can feed your body, but let’s be honest—nobody likes to eat bland, flavourless (and sometimes dry) chicken!
This is one of my favourite ways to pump up the flavour of chicken while simultaneously getting an extra healthy helping of veggies.
These chicken breasts are stuffed with broccoli, bell pepper, and cheese—making it yet another good low-carb or paleo/keto recipe option.
The paprika seasoning on the chicken and garlic powder added to the veggie stuffing mixture is also a must!
You won’t be disappointed by this one.
It’s yet another fantastic chicken recipe I come back to make again and again.
Whoever spread the rumor that brussels sprouts were disgusting must’ve only been eating them boiled, because I have to say, BAKED brussels sprouts are perhaps one of the tastiest vegetables in the world.
Brussels sprouts are also a part of the cruciferous vegetable family, so you’ll get the added cancer-fighting benefits along with the fat-busting fiber and nutrients.
This particular recipe again uses cauliflower, coconut milk, and nutritional yeast to help cut down on the fat and calories of potatoes, heavy cream, and cheese.
You could even leave out the bacon to make this a vegan/vegetarian dish.
Everyone loves a classic chilli recipe for the coldest days of the winter, but sometimes it’s worth tweaking that recipe with some healthier ingredients.
This particular chilli recipe swaps out group beef for ground chicken and is meant to be made in a slow cooker/crockpot, but you could definitely make this on the stovetop too.
Sweet potatoes are also added, plus two different types of beans (black and pinto) making it a high-carb, but low-fat recipe.
This one isn’t low-carb/paleo/keto-friendly, but I have to say, I love this as a change to traditional chilli, and it’s a great recipe to have after hitting hard at the gym.
The combination of lean protein and complex carbs makes it a perfect post-workout meal!
These are some of the tastiest meatballs I’ve ever made. Honestly, I think I love them even more than regular ground beef meatballs.
This chicken parm recipe is another that uses ground chicken instead of beef, plus a generous helping of parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, and Italian spices.
Now, I personally like to tweak this recipe a bit to make it low-carb and paleo/keto-friendly.
Instead of using breadcrumbs, I’ll use almond flour. Sometimes I’ll even replace half the parmesan with nutritional yeast.
I’ve done this multiple times with this recipe and it always turns out great.
Pair these meatballs with your pasta of choice (whole wheat or a low-carb pasta), or if you’re not afraid of carbs, use them to make meatball subs!
I love to order French onion soup at restaurants as a serious treat, and anyone else who does the same is probably just as as in love with the delicious cheese and bread this kind of soup is known for.
Well, if you’re low-carbing it, you can get a similar taste by skipping the bread and getting a punch of protein by using chicken breasts instead.
This is now one of my favourite ways to quickly and simply dress up some bland chicken breasts for a flavour punch that keeps me coming back for more.
All you really need are some chicken breasts, a bunch of onions, shredded mozzerella, some spices, a bit of butter, garlic and chicken or beef broth.
You can even go easy on the cheese if you’re watching your calories from fat.
Craving Mexican food for dinner?
Tacos, burritos, and fajitas are some of my favourite Mexican go-tos, but they can be really carb and calorie-dense.
When I want a healthier option, I like to use bell peppers instead of taco shells or tortillas.
Theyr’re super low in calories yet still filling, plus they’re PACKED with vitamin C—a necessary nutrient to help fight off any potential cold or flu viruses you might come into contact with this winter season!
Using ground turkey instead of beef is also a leaner, healthier alternative.
These taco peppers are also super easy to customize.
If you’re really low-carb or paleo/keto, skip the black beans, rice, and corn and maybe add extra meat, tomatoes, green onions, or avocado slices.
I find that a lot of pulled pork recipes involve huge amounts of sugary ingredients to help sweeten them up—like honey, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, barbecue sauce, or apple sauce.
It took me a while to find this one, which provides just enough sweetness with only two tablespoons of brown sugar and a quarter-cup of apple cider vinegar per four-pound pork shoulder.
The flavour is absolutely die to for, and in fact, many of the other sweeter recipes seem too sweet to me now.
Looking for a healthy veggie side to add to your main dish for dinner that isn’t potatoes?
This roasted caulifower recipe nearly tastes like tater tots!
Now you’ll notice that this particular recipe calls for a few high-calorie/fat ingredients like butter, parmesan, and bread crumbs.
I’ve subbed all these things for healthier, vegan ingredients and they still came out amazing.
You can use olive oil instead of butter, nutritional yeast instead of parmesan, and almond flour instead of bread crumbs.
Portabella mushrooms make another healthy veggie side to your main dish, and this one really packs a powerful flavour punch.
If you love the taste of cheese and caramelized onions, you’ll got nuts for this.
It’s super to easy to make and quite filling.
Goat’s cheese is also slightly lower in fat and lactose compared to other cheeses, however its flavour is still as distinct as ever!
If you’re entertaining and looking for a healthy appetizer that will wow your guests, look no further than these incredible little sweet potato bites.
Who would’ve thought that sweet potato, avocado, and bacon would go so well together?
These are neither low-carb nor vegan, but they’re paleo and gluten-free, so that’s a plus.
I made these last winter and loved them, but they don’t store well since the potatoes lose their crispiness if you try to reheat them, so it’s best to make just enough for when you plan to serve them, and ideally assemble and serve them right out of the oven.
Chowder, I think, is one of the best things you can eat on a cold winter’s day, and if you’re a fan of fish, then you’ll love this healthy winter recipe.
All you have to do is throw the ingredients in a pot and let it all simmer for a bit.
Sometimes I like to add sautéed onions, peas, shrimp, and other types of cold water fish like rainbow trout or lake trout.
This is one great and delicious way to get a healthy helping of anti-inflammatory omega-3s!
This one isn’t for everyone’s diet, but I gotta say, I love this stew in the dead of winter.
I won’t argue that sausage is high in fat and is highly processed, but once in a while it’s perfectly fine and dare I say, earned.
The use of Great Northern beans in this one also doesn’t make it low-carb, keto, or paleo, but for the rest of us bean and legume lovers, it’s a great source of complex carbs, protein and fiber.
Honestly, the best part of this stew is the fresh herbs.
This stew will have your whole home smelling like rosemary and thyme.
I love to make this in my slow cooker on low all day so I can get the most out of the flavours by dinnertime.
I’ve already listed a lot of dinner-specific recipes here, so I thought it was about time to look for something good to have for lunch.
This healthy winter recipe combines chopped or shredded chicken breast with the sweet and tangy flavours of apple, cranberry, Greek yogurt, mayo, and a little bit of dijon mustard.
The rest is just spices, and a small handful of pecans give you some additional crunch.
Enjoy this cold, creamy salad on a bun, in a whole wheat/sprouted grain sandwich, in a wrap, on some crackers, or even just on some celery sticks!
If you love Indian food and the warm, potent spices of curry, then you’ll love this healthy winter recipe too.
I’ve used both ground chicken and turkey for this recipe, which has always been super quick and easy for such a delicious result.
All you really need is an onion, a bit of garlic, some coconut milk, and the right blend of spices to create what you might admit to be the best tasting curry recipe you’ve ever had.
I love to pair it with brown rice, quinoa, or whole wheat naan bread.
Low-carbers and keto folks are going to love this one.
It’s creamy, cheesy, and packed with a healthy helping of spinach.
The marinated artichoke hearts are what make the flavour of this dish so good and tangy, so if you’ve never tried them, this might be a good time to do so. (You can find them in the grocery store where all the pickled jars are.)
This is a super low-carb dish, but it’s of course rather high in fat and salt too (from both the cheese and the artichoke hearts).
I was hooked on this years ago but haven’t made it in a while.
Maybe that will change soon!
I had to include at least one Italian pasta dish in this list, and this baked ziti recipe is it.
What I love about this one is that it’s ridiculous easy to make. All you have to do is remember to add the pasta near the end.
It’s also just as customizable as most other recipes listed here are.
Instead of ground beef, you could use turkey or chicken.
For healthier pasta options, use whole wheat or gluten-free types. (Just remember to adjust the cooking time according to the pasta you’re using).
Mushrooms have wonderful immnue-boosting properties, which is super helpful during the winter when cold and flu season is in full force.
To take your regular bland rice to the next level, just add mushrooms, onion, garlic, butter, vegetable stock, and sliced green onions.
I use this recipe with Uncle Ben’s brown rice, and it always turns out fantastic.
It makes a wonderful side dish to your main one — especially chicken and roasted veggies.
Oktoberfest runs from September to October, but there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy the delicious flavours of early autumn long into the winter—especially with this amazing German recipe.
The cabbage is sweetened with red wine, red wine vinegar, and brown sugar.
If you want to make this more of a low-carb dish, you can definitely cut the brown sugar by half or so.
It’s crazy easy to make and the flavour is amazing.
Red cabbage has incredible antioxidant properties due to its deep purple-red colour (and is also part of the cruciferous vegetable family).
Fair warning—don’t get a super big cabbage! If you do, you might have a hard time fitting it all into a single skillet.
Jambalya might just be the perfect southern dish to enjoy in the winter, especially since Mardi Gras comes right around the tail end of the season (February to March).
This recipe is meant for the slow cooker/crockpot, so you can pile it all in at the beginning of the day and come home to a warm, spicy dinner.
This spicey blend of sausage, chicken, shrimp, rice, and veggies (sometimes I like to add chopped green bell pepper or celery) is just what you need when you’re looking forward to spring.
Mac n’ cheese is perhaps the ultimate winter comfort food, but all that pasta and all that cheese doesn’t exactly make for a low-carb, low-fat, low-calorie meal.
When I want pasta, I try to make it a less fattening sauce, and mac n’ cheese is no exception.
This particular recipe uses nutritional yeast to create the cheesy flavour. It’s not exactly the same, but it’s still pretty darn good, and you get the added bonus of vitamin B12 from it.
I like to add a little dijon mustard to this recipe and double the paprika for extra flavour.
I’m surprised I got almost all the way through this list without including a broccoli recipe, mainly because I absolutely adore this vegetable and use it often.
This one is nothing complex and unheard of — just a super straight and simple way to include a healthy helping of broccoli when you’re looking to add a side of greens to your other healthy winter recipes.
I keep a stash of frozen broccoli in the freezer at all times for times like these.
It’s easy enough to take them out, spread them on a cooking sheet, pour a little oil on them, add some spices or parmesan cheese, and stick them in the oven.
Steaming might be easier, but I find that roasted broccoli has such a better flavour to it.
I had to save the best for last. This is truly the DESSERT of the whole list!
I know that it can be tough having to stay inside when it’s so bitterly cold and dark, which only tends to make our cravings worse.
When I’m looking to treat myself with something super decadent and chocolatey, I whip up a batch of these incredible brownies.
These brownies are not only totally vegan, but also flourless and gluten-free.
Blended chickpeas are the main ingredient, with nut butter to add richness and maple syrup to sweeten them up. The rest is all stuff you’ll have in your baking pantry.
You’d never even guess that these brownies had no white flour, sugar, egg, or vegetable oil in them.
They may not be low in calories, but I know I feel at least a little less guilty about indulging in them thanks to their healthier, more nutritious ingredients.
Go ahead and give your body what it craves this winter.
Your body craves warmth, moisture, and nutrients during the colder months.
Don’t make the mistake of feeding your cravings with too many empty carbs and fatty junk foods!
I hope you enjoyed this list of my absolute favourite healthy winter recipes and decided to bookmark at least one to try.
Until spring, these are the recipes that I’ll probably be living on.
Have a wonderfully healthy and restful winter!