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Tara Gidus

Fueling Up for the Winter Season

It doesn't get too cold here in Florida compared to the rest of the country, but for the runDisney runners that live in a warmer climate, the day the temps drop below 70 we are busting out the cold weather gear. This time of year, we often turn to comfort foods that may or may not be so healthy—ahem, warm apple pie anyone? Instead of noshing on foods that are going to leave you feeling sluggish, savor those healthier comfort foods that are sure to satisfy. Warm up from the inside out with these cold-weather fueling options.



Oatmeal. A big bowl of oatmeal in the morning after a chilly run is my happy place. The hearty and fiber rich carbohydrates that are in oats keep energy levels stable all morning, a much better choice than a sugary stack of pancakes that will leave you crashing. Top your oatmeal with a drizzle of warm nut butter, fresh fruit and your favorite nuts and seeds for longer lasting energy.


Potato Soup. Cozy up with a bowl of broth-based potato soup to warm yourself up after a chilly run. Sipping broth is a great way to rehydrate because of its fluid and electrolyte sodium content. Potatoes are a perfect runner food, as they are rich in complex carbohydrates and are brimming with potassium, an electrolyte that is lost through sweat. Double win.


Chicken and Wild Rice. Chicken and wild rice make a comforting pair, and they are great running fuel. Make healthy eating easy, by tossing this dish in the crockpot to allow the flavors to infuse together all day. With less hassle on you, you can spend more time logging the long miles.



Veggie Lasagna. Lasagna can be heavy, but lighten it up by going veggie. Butternut squash, spinach, eggplant, mushrooms, and onions are some of my favorite vegetables to add to lasagna. Veggie lasagna can still be an excellent source of protein just make sure to go for the whole grain noodles and sub in cottage cheese for ricotta.


Shepherd's Pie. Now this is legit comfort food, and can be ready in a flash for a quick weeknight meal. Brown lean ground beef or lamb and make sure to load it with veggies like mushrooms, peas, corn, carrots, and green beans. Next, add a little whole grain flour, Italian seasonings, garlic and broth. Layer the meat mixture in the bottom of a baking dish and top with mashed potatoes. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 25 minutes. Note: Make it healthy by whipping potatoes with low fat milk to add creaminess without all the saturated fat found in butter and cream.


Breakfast Strata. Nothing says holiday morning like breakfast strata in my opinion, but strata or casseroles can be enjoyed any day of the year, especially in the winter when you're craving something warm. Amp up the veggies in your traditional strata recipe and always go for whole grain bread and lean meats like ground beef or Canadian bacon. Gluten free? No problem, add sweet potatoes to the strata instead of bread… it tastes amazing!!


What are some of your favorite cold weather meal ideas? Tweet me @DietDivaTara!


Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus Collingwood is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.