Comfort food recipes

Comfort food. Typically high sugar, high carbohydrate meals that provide a feeling of consolation or well-being, such as pizza, ice cream or spaghetti bolognese.

Consumption of these fulfilling dishes tend to see an increase during the autumn and winter months. Why? Biology explains that when eating our favourite foods, a rush of “happiness chemicals” (dopamine and serotonin) are sent from the gut to our brain, allowing us to feel ecstatic; joyful; upbeat and content! The shorter days and decreasing temperatures that autumn and winter bring tend to cause low moods, which in turn have been linked to emotional eating comprising of – comfort foods. In essence, during the gloomier seasons, we eat comfort food for happiness.

As autumn and winter make up half of the year, eating traditional comfort foods every day to maintain an elevated mood is, unfortunately, not a sustainable lifestyle. The sugar, carbs and calorie content do not provide the important nutrients to keep our bodies functioning and immune systems fighting throughout the colder months. As a result, it is vital that we monitor our intake to keep us at our strongest. The solution? Make comfort food healthy. 

Asian comfort food

Chicken Udon Soup

Why not try Chicken Udon Soup, a delicious Asian dish full of nutrients and protein that will keep you warm and healthy during these trying months. The following comfort food recipe yields four servings, so it can be enjoyed as a meal for the family or adjusted to serve one.

Ingredients:

2kg chicken breast

300g celery (chopped)

4cm piece fresh ginger (chopped)

160g sweetcorn

400g udon noodles 

350g leek (chopped)

120g carrot (chopped)

1tbsp salt

2 tsp soy sauce 

Fresh coriander 

Method:

  1. Place chicken in large pan with enough cold water to cover. Add the celery, carrot, leek, ginger and salt. Bring to boil. Reduce the heat, then cook uncovered for 2 hours. Remove any froth that rises.
  2. Remove chicken from the stock and place on a plate to cool. Strain the stock into a large pot, removing fat from the top.
  3. Shred chicken and set aside.
  4.  Return 1.5 litres of stock to clean, large pot and bring to boil over a medium-high temp. Add sweetcorn, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook uncovered for 2 minutes. Add shredded chicken and soy sauce to the pot, bringing to boil again. Add noodles, then reduce heat and allow to cook uncovered for 3 minutes.
  5. Serve the chicken udon soup. Add coriander to taste.

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