As we noted earlier this week, caring for your skin is about more than just vanity — your skin is the largest organ in your body, the first defense in your immune system, and a key part of maintaining your overall health and wellness. And your skin can take a beating during the cold, dry winter months. We previously shared important skincare and lifestyle tips for healthier skin in the winter, and diet is a key part of that. This collection of wholesome winter meals are delicious, nourishing, and contain key ingredients that will boost your skin health from the inside out.
Focus on These Foods For Healthier Skin
“Nutritional status plays an important role in the maintenance of healthy skin,” reports the Linus Pauling Institute at the University of Oregon. “Macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids) and micronutrients (vitamins and nutritionally essential minerals) work together to maintain the barrier functions of skin in the face of everyday challenges. Changes in nutritional status that alter skin structure and function can also directly affect skin appearance.”
Certain specific foods contribute to healthier skin and overall winter health, many of which are featured in today’s collection of recipes. Some of the top highlights to add to your next grocery list include:
- Fatty Fish: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, these fish (like salmon, mackerel, and sardines) can help maintain skin health by keeping it thick, supple, and moisturized.
- Avocados: Packed with healthy fats and antioxidants like Vitamin E, avocados can protect your skin from oxidative damage.
- Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, sunflower seeds, and walnuts are excellent sources of nutrients like Vitamin E, which helps protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals.
- Sweet Potatoes: These are a great source of beta-carotene, which converts into Vitamin A. This nutrient is essential for skin health and helps keep skin smooth and supple.
- Bell Peppers: Loaded with Vitamin C, bell peppers can help your skin stay strong by promoting collagen production, which keeps the skin firm and youthful.
- Tomatoes: Rich in Vitamin C, these fruits help in collagen production and protect the skin from sun damage.
- Dark Chocolate: High-quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content is rich in antioxidants, which can improve skin texture.
- Water: Staying hydrated is crucial for overall skin health. Drinking enough water, and eating enough water by increasing your vegetable and fruit intake, keeps your skin hydrated and helps flush out toxins.
Winter Breakfast For Healthier Skin: Creamy Avo-Nut Smoothie
This smoothie is packed with healthy fats, nutrients, and a creamy texture from the avocado, making it a nutritious and satisfying option for a snack or breakfast. Adjust the sweetness and thickness according to your preference.
1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
1 frozen banana
1/4 cup of mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts, or any nuts of your choice), soaked overnight or for a few hours and drained
1 cup spinach or kale (optional, for added nutrients — if you use this, frozen kale or spinach is ideal!)
1 cup almond milk or any milk of your choice
1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup (optional, for sweetness)
Ice cubes (optional)
Prepare the Ingredients: Ensure the avocado is ripe and scoop out the flesh, discarding the pit. Break it into chunks. Drain the soaked nuts.
In a blender, combine the ripe avocado, banana, soaked nuts, spinach or kale (if using), almond milk, and honey or maple syrup (if desired). Add a handful of ice cubes if you prefer a colder smoothie.
Start blending on low speed and gradually increase to high until all the ingredients are well combined and the mixture is smooth and creamy.
If the smoothie is too thick, you can add more almond milk to reach your desired consistency. If it’s too thin, you can add a few more nuts or a bit of avocado to thicken it.
Pour the smoothie into glasses and enjoy immediately. You can also garnish with a sprinkle of nuts or a slice of avocado for presentation.
Winter Lunch For Healthier Skin: Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
This sweet potato salad offers a delightful combination of flavors and textures, from the sweetness of the potatoes to the crunch of nuts and the tanginess of the dressing. It’s a nutritious and colorful dish perfect for a side at meals or as a standalone light lunch option. Adjust the ingredients according to your taste preferences.
2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped
1/4 cup toasted walnuts or pecans, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
1/2 teaspoon honey or maple syrup (optional)
Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Place the cubed sweet potatoes on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat evenly. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until tender and slightly caramelized. Allow them to cool.
In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard (if using), and honey or maple syrup (if desired). Adjust the sweetness and acidity to your taste preference.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the roasted sweet potatoes, finely chopped red onion, chopped cilantro or parsley, toasted chopped nuts, and dried cranberries or raisins.
Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and gently toss until everything is evenly coated with the dressing.
Cover the salad and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. Serve chilled or at room temperature and enjoy!
Winter Dinner For Healthier Skin: Salmon-Stuffed Roasted Bell Peppers
This dish offers a delightful blend of flavors and textures, with the flaky salmon complementing the hearty quinoa or rice, all stuffed into colorful bell peppers. And as noted at the start of these recipes, both salmon and bell peppers are some of the best foods to add to your diet if you want more radiant, healthy skin this winter.
4 bell peppers (any color), tops removed and seeds removed
2 salmon fillets (about 8 ounces), skin removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cooked quinoa or rice
1 cup baby spinach, chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley, dill, or basil)
Lemon wedges for serving
Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
Prepare the bell peppers. Cut the tops off the bell peppers and remove the seeds and membranes. If needed, trim the bottoms slightly to help them stand upright in a baking dish. Lightly brush the outside of the peppers with olive oil and season the insides with a pinch of salt and pepper. Place them in a baking dish.
Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add a bit of olive oil. Sear the salmon fillets for about 3-4 minutes per side until they are cooked through. Flake the salmon into smaller pieces using a fork and set aside.
In the same skillet, add a bit more olive oil if needed. Sauté the chopped onion and minced garlic until they become translucent and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add the chopped spinach and cook until wilted. Remove from heat.
Assemble the filling. In a mixing bowl, combine the cooked quinoa or rice, flaked salmon, sautéed onion, garlic, and spinach mixture. Add the grated Parmesan cheese (if using) and chopped fresh herbs. Mix everything together until well combined.
Fill each bell pepper with the salmon and quinoa/rice mixture, pressing it down gently. Fill them to the top and pack the mixture well.
Place the stuffed bell peppers in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the peppers are tender and slightly charred on the edges.
Remove the peppers from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes. Serve the stuffed bell peppers warm with lemon wedges on the side for a zesty touch.