Whether it's an enjoyable walk through a frosty landscape or skiing fresh snow-covered slopes, time spent outdoors is one of winter's best perks. And even if you're out having fun from sunup to sundown, a hearty, home-cooked meal can be waiting for you when you return. Deliciously healthy soups and stews are the kind of comfort meals that actually taste better when simmered all day in a slow cooker or made a day or two in advance, refrigerated, and reheated with a little extra broth or water. Best of all, these recipes provide whole-food essentials — complex carbohydrates, complete proteins, and healthy fats — needed to replenish your body after an active day. So enjoy winter, knowing you have one of these warm-you-up meals at the ready.

Kale, Bean, and Italian Sausage Soup

Serves 10-12 / Packed full of vegetables, this superhearty soup gets a delicious boost from fresh fennel. Stores well in the fridge for easy reheating. If you use a slow cooker, toss everything together except the cabbage, kale, beans, and tomatoes; add those during the last 30-45 minutes of cooking. Serving tip: Serve with rustic bread and hot cranberry-grape juice laced with nutmeg.