Hearty and Healthy Winter Warmers

Hearty and Healthy Winter Warmers
Three great new grain-based meals for the family

AS WINTER sets in there's a chill in the air and a big temptation to treat the family to lots of traditional hot and filling comfort food.

There's nothing wrong with snuggling up in front of the fire and tucking into some great cooking on a cold winter's day, but you should watch out for the high fat content in many traditional winter roasts, oven bakes and casseroles.

If the thought of fitting into your swimming costume come summertime bothers you, don't worry! There are plenty of scrumptious, healthy alternatives to get the warming comfort you crave, while still providing a healthy meal.

It's good to remember that grain foods are nutritious and filling, and come in a wide variety that can be used in any meal. For example, couscous, rice and pasta are perfect accompaniments to popular winter family meals like casseroles and curries, providing nourishment and wholesome fibre.

Soup is another winter favourite that becomes a hearty offering with the simple addition of some barley, pasta or rice. Add a side serve of chunky wholegrain bread, and your soups will taste even better.

Barley is more versatile than you might think. As well as a popular addition to casseroles and soups, where it creates a wonderful thick texture, adding barley to salad gives it a delightful nutty flavour.

To get the nutritional benefits from grains, official guidelines recommend at least four serves a day for women, and six for men, of foods like bread, cereal and pasta. If you aim to make half of these servings wholegrain or wholemeal products, you'll be well on your way to a healthy overall diet.

For more information on the health benefits of grains, and a host of delicious family favourite recipes featuring pastas, couscous, polenta and barley, visit - www.gograins.grdc.com.au.

Hearty and Healthy Winter Warmers Recipes:Vegetable, Barley and Pasta Soup (with Soy and Linseed Toast)
Bircher Muesli
Beef and Vegetable Curry with Orange Couscous and Pappadams