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Warm your soul without widening your waist

Woman in winter clothing

Woman in winter clothing

It might be a bit hard to believe at the moment (even in Melbourne) but winter is just around the corner.

Winter days, you know, those days that are cold and bleak, biting winds, rain, sometimes sleet – the kind of days where you will do anything to avoid venturing outside – the days that make you feel gloomy and in need of comfort?

It’s these kinds of days that it is just too easy to turn to comfort food. Food that will make you feel warm and cosy – steaming soups, hearty casseroles, gooey puddings with custard, cream and/or ice cream melting over the top of them.


Is this you? It’s me! Which is why I was not really shocked to hear that more than a third of women and more than half of men expect to pile on up to five kilos over winter.

The professionals at Atkins Nutritionals have come great advice and top tips to help fight the flab during the frosty season.

“Watching your weight doesn’t mean missing out on comfort foods such as soups and casseroles, but it does mean being more mindful of what you put into them. By packing them full of lean protein, legumes and carefully-selected veggies, you can enjoy the same great winter flavours, without the unwanted winter calories,” said Nutritionist Ms Colette Heimowitz, Vice President of Nutrition and Education at Atkins Nutritionals

“It’s much easier to maintain your weight than to try to lose additional kilos after over-indulging in cold season cravings, so adopting a carb-controlled eating plan to steer you safely through the winter months is key to looking fit and fabulous come next spring,” added Ms Heimowitz.According to Atkins, just a few simple swaps can help keep you on the right track:

  • Don’t give up exercise because it’s cold and wet outside – swap outdoor boot camp for indoor swimming laps, join a social team to play netball or basketball, or hit the treadmill
  • Trade hot potato chips for oven-baked pumpkin chips; make your own pizza crusts from cauliflower, egg and grated cheese; use low-carb pasta or make zucchini strings instead of traditional pasta; enjoy cauliflower rice rather than fried rice; and replace the noodles in stir-fries with extra veggies
  • Start following an Atkins style eating plan, low in carbs and protein rich with plenty of natural fats to keep you satisfied longer.
  • Keep tasty carb-controlled snacks, such as Atkins Endulge Bars, handy rather than giving in to conventional chocolate bar cravings
  • Plan your meals ahead and cook up delicious soups and stews on the weekend so you’re not tempted to toss your good habits aside for last-minute takeaways which are responsible for plenty of extra pounds during winter – the time of year 90 per cent of Australians admit to eating more fast food
  • Drink plenty of water – often when we think we’re hungry we’re actually thirsty and it’s easy to forget about hydration during the colder months

Why not try these great low carb winter warming recipes this weekend?

Spinach Soup

Atkins Low Carb Spinach Soup

Fat: 4.8grams, Protein: 4.4grams, Carbs: 3.2grams

Ingredients: (serving size – 8)

2 tbsp butter

1 onion, fresh, med

1 tbsp fresh ginger root

1 clove garlic

1000ml vegetable broth

500g spinach

1 tsp ground nutmeg

30ml double cream


Heat butter in large pan and fry onion over medium heat for 10 mins or until soft. Add ginger, garlic, celery and cook for 3-4 mins. Heat vegetable broth in a separate pan before pouring the hot broth into the pot and bring to boil, then simmer for 10 mins. Add spinach, grate over nutmeg and cook until spinach wilts. Puree in food processor. Return soup to pan and stir in cream whilst heating gently. 

Butternut Pumpkin Soup

Atkins Low Carb Pumpkin Soup S

Serves 6, Protein: 5.1grams, Carbs: 18.2grams

Ingredients: (serving size – 6)

1 tbsp lemon zest

2 fresh medium onions

1litre of chicken broth

2 tsp ground cumin

3 clove(s) garlic

2 tbsp butter

1.2kg butternut squash

2 tbsp lemon juice

8 tbsp whipped cream


Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, cook, stirring often, until very soft but not browned (approx. 4 minutes). Then add cumin; cook for 1 minute. Add butternut pumpkin, chicken broth, and 1 tablespoon of the lemon zest; simmer until pumpkin is very tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Puree cooled soup in a blender in several batches. Return to pot. Stir in cream and reheat. Season with lemon juice and salt to taste. Ladle soup into bowls. Top each serving with a pinch of the remaining zest.

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