The warmth of food

The warmth of food

Meet the nip in the air with a rush of heart-warming comfort ingredients readily available in the kitchen, writes Shilpi Madan

Winter brings to mind slurping on hot soups and broths, steaks and sizzlers, and garam chai and coffee. Gear up to grapple the chill in the air with a pick of perfect foods lined up for the season.

Sweet on sweet potatoes 

The mushy deliciousness of the gnarled pink potato leaves you lusting for more. Grill on the flame directly and sprinkle limy chaat masala to tuck in as a fabulous tea-time snack. Says nutritionist Prateek Kumar, founder, FitCru, “It is also lower on the glycemic index scale than white potatoes. Sweet potato leads to fewer carb cravings later on in the day and reins sugar levels well unlike the potatoes. Being a root vegetable, sweet potato keeps your body warm through its high concentration of antioxidants, Vitamin A and C, and minerals including iron and potassium.

Mount up on millet

Ragi or nachni makes you stay warm in winters,” says Ritu Gupta, founder and head nutritionist, NutriquebyRitu. “This millet will keep you warm in winter. Just like bajra, which is gluten free, rich in potassium, fibre, Omega-3 and iron, is a metabolism-booster and produces warmth.” She suggests using ragi for making porridge, dosa, idli, laddoo, khichri, upma, or using it as flour for rotis and chillas.

Oatmeal chorus

Says Prateek, “Oatmeal is a slow-releasing carbohydrate that helps you stay full throughout the day and fuel your workouts too.” Toss in the vegetables with porridge, add oats to the flour you knead, sprinkle in soups, and mix with yoghurt for making chillas, and smoothies.

Dates & dry fruits

Walnuts and almonds are good fat carriers and are tasty and crunchy in roasted formats. They also aid in regulating body temperature. Dip into date reserves to combat the chills. Rich in iron, dates work beautifully when rolled into hot kheers, and even laddoos. “They power weight loss and can be added to porridge, oatmeal, cereals, and eaten as energy balls when used as a substitute to sugar,” says Ritu.

Onion it is

The warmth-inducing kitchen staple also guards the body against harmful bacteria. “It also helps in nourishing the healthy gut flora, boosting digestive health during winter,” says nutritionist Karishma Chawla. A hot cup of onion soup would do complete justice to this warming food. Onions have been traditionally used in Chinese medicines as a warmth-imparting ingredient.

Ginger & garlic

The quiet spiciness of ginger brings with it thermogenic properties that help us stay warm. “Ginger boosts our metabolism, promotes blood flow and aids in digestion. Boil it with your tea leaves, or grate and add lime as an accompaniment to your meals,” says Karishma. “You can add raw garlic or roasted ones to dips and dressings or cook it with your curries.” Sipping on ginger tea works beautifully as the root is also a diaphoretic — keeps your body warm from the inside out. 

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