People can turn to comfort food over the winter months without having to go on a diet or seek obesity treatment
in the new year, it has been claimed.
Mandie Gower, editor of Zest magazine, said that people tend to crave "stodge" rather than salad as the days get shorter, but that this kind of food need not be unhealthy.
"In fact, many winter warmers are great ways to help you get your five-a-day," she insisted.
"Home-made soups, hearty stews and pasta sauces can all be packed full of vegetables and protein-rich pulses."
Ms Gower said that a varied, balanced diet is important to maintain a healthy immune system and urged consumers to eat a "rainbow" of different coloured fruit and vegetables.
She also advised people who are concerned about their weight to avoid reaching for the biscuit tin when craving a snack, and to nibble on seeds and nuts instead.
Consumers are advised to eat five servings of different fruit and vegetables each day to ensure they consume the necessary vitamins and minerals to maintain health.
However, the latest figures from the NHS Information Centre suggest that only 78 per cent of women and 62 per cent of men are aware of the guidance.