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Getty images / Illustration by Matt McClane / Feed your body's winter cravings with this healthy treat.

Yield: 4 servings

Prep time: 10 minutes

Ready in: 10 minutes

Why we love it:

Sometimes it just feels good to eat. OK, always. But sometimes we're more predisposed to it than others.

Cue fall and winter.

While researchers disagree on the bottom line for this seasonal phenomenon, the colder months definitely seem to cause our best intentions to fall and our waist lines to grow.

Perhaps it's because we're lacking in Vitamin D, which science has shown to aid the body's fat burning process. That lack of sunlight could also mean higher levels of melatonin — the sleep hormone — and a resultant lack of motivation and increase in appetite.

Or perhaps it's the colder temperatures that are to blame. Despite all our HVAC systems, colder weather increases our metabolism, at least to a certain degree, as we seek to regulate our body's temperature. Or, like chipmunks and bears, we could just be biologically wired to store up fuel for the winter, our evolutionary clocks not having caught up to the fact that holiday parties are in store.

Whatever the reason, researchers do agree that we eat roughly 200 more calories per day on average during this time of year, often craving carbohydrates and sugars. While protein-rich diets are the best way to feel full, who are we to argue with biological needs — at least in reason? Feed your body's cravings with this healthy winter treat. And, for good measure, visit getoutchattanooga.com for a protein-rich veggie chili recipe submitted by Sharon Hopper, a dietitian at CHI Memorial Rees Skillern Cancer Institute.

What you need:

3 pears, peeled, cored and cut into wedges

1 pomegranate, skin and light-colored membrane removed

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons finely chopped almonds (optional)

4 sprigs fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)

 

What you do:

1. Place sliced pears and pomegranate seeds into a bowl. Toss with lemon juice to coat.

2. Combine brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon in a small cup or bowl, then mix in with the fruit. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving to blend the flavors.

3. Serve in individual dishes, and garnish with a sprinkling of chopped almonds and a sprig of mint.

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