January can feel like a bleak enough place without a self-imposed ban on all your favourite foods, which lots of people seem to implement this time of year. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

When it’s cold outside, comfort food warms your stomach and your soul, but it’s also got a bad reputation for being a touch on the unhealthy side. The great news is, according to Waitrose and Partner’s very own nutritionists, there are plenty of ways you can increase the nutritional value of some of your favourite recipes to make sure you’re ticking both boxes. And even better, the tweaks you have to make to the recipes are minimal…

1 Meatballs: add oats

Meatballs make for a great winter slow-cooked dinner, but why not try adding some uncooked oats to your homemade recipe? Replace 1/3 of your meat with oats as an easy means of getting some extra soluble fibre into your meal. This is great for your heart health, and using slightly less meat brings down the saturated fats in the dish.

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2 Sausage and mash: use celeriac

Sausage and mash is the ultimate comfort food, but for an instant boost in health properties, try mashing some celeriac in with your potatoes (or even better, use it instead of potatoes). The celeriac counts towards your 5 a day and is a good source of vitamin C and K, and it’s also deliciously creamy so you won’t notice the difference!

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3 Lasagne: use sliced leeks instead of pasta

Lasagne is one of the heartiest meals you can make this time of year, but by simply swapping out the normal pasta sheets for sliced leek, you can contribute towards your 5 a day. AND leeks are a useful source of vitamin A, which is good for healthy vision. Bonus points.

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4 Pesto: add kale

You can’t beat pesto, especially when it’s mixed in with some pasta. But instead of using the shop-bought stuff, or making it at home following your standard basil/parmesan/oil recipe, Waitrose’s nutritionists recommend adding in some kale into the blend. Kale is high in vitamin C, which helps towards keeping your immune system strong – extra important over the winter months. You won’t even taste it in there!

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5 Shepherd’s Pie: add lentils

Shepherd’s pie is a classic winter warmer dish, but by swapping out some or all of the meat for lentils, you can reduce your fat intake as well as your fibre. Plus, lentils are a great source of iron, which is another good reason to make the compromise.

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6 Curry: make it veg

While nothing can beat a takeaway curry, if you’re cooking it at home you may as well try to make it as healthy as possible. To do this – and to save a bit of £££ while you’re at it – why not opt for a vegetarian curry. If you blend in puréed lentils, you’ll instantly add creaminess (and fibre, and protein) without adding saturated fat. Bung in a few more of your favourite veg (green beans, cauliflower, whatever floats your boat) and you’re good to go, with a glowing five-a-day record to boot.

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7 Burger: use a tuna steak

Okay, okay, this one might take some convincing. But hear us out: swap your beef burger for a grilled tuna steak instead. Not only is it the meatiest of fish so it won’t be dissimilar in texture, tuna is also rich in omega 3 fats that are needed for a healthy heart, which you can’t argue with. Plus, it’s a great source of everyone’s favourite food group: protein.

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