Wet, cold and dark winters makes it really easy to reach for the comfort food. The cooler months can make it hard for many of us to stay motivated and healthy. Although it’s hard, it’s really important to watch what we eat during the winter months to keep our immune system strong and help control our weight.
It’s natural to crave larger portions in cold weather as our bodies need more nutrients to keep our bodies warm and our immunity strong. Making nutrient-dense choices is the secret to feeling full and staying healthy. Read on to find out the best way to stay healthy over winter!
It’s the season to stay inside so savour slow-cooked casseroles, stews, soups, broths and plenty of starchy, energy-dense root vegetables. It’s important to eat food high in nutritional value and maintain a well-balanced diet. Try to eat foods that are high in antioxidants like pecans, dark chocolate and berries; protein like nuts, beans and lean meat; and fibre like peas, beans and pulses, and wholewheat pasta, bread and oats. If you’re finding it difficult to get the protein you need here are some great protein supplements to give you that extra boost – Optimum Nutrition – Gold Standard 100% Whey, Optimum Nutrition Pro Grainer, and Dymatize – ISO 100.
Try to also include foods in your diet that are high in vitamin B like wholegrains, leafy greens and lentils; vitamin C like broccoli, sweat potato and spinach; and vitamin E like nuts, seeds and vegetable oils. It’s also really important to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D in your diet, especially in winter. Vitamin D is mood enhancing and can be produced by your body with a little bit of sunlight. But with sunlight in short supply during the colder months try adding foods high in vitamin D into your diet such as fish, mushrooms and avocados. As always, try to limit the amount of food you’re eating that are high in sugars and fats. Try some good quality dark chocolate and some nuts when you are craving that sugar fix.
Choose seasonal produce
There are so many benefits to choosing seasonal winter produce. Selecting local seasonal fruit and vegetables gives them a richer flavour because they are picked when they are ripe. Non-seasonal produce is usually grown somewhere else, picked before it’s ripe and needs to travel to your local market. And because seasonal produce is picked when it’s ripe, it provides better nutrition than non-seasonal foods that have not had the same time to develop. Eating seasonally means that you’re more likely to eat a range of different produce giving you a more balanced diet. Eating locally produced food is also cost efficient, environmentally sustainable and supports your local famers!
Look out for delicious apples and pears perfect in porridge for breakfast. You can also try sprinkling some protein powder on your breaky for an extra protein hit to get you going in the morning. Great choices are Cellucor COR Performance Isolate and Scivation XTEND Pro Whey Isolate. Also try to get a good amount of broccoli, avocado, seasonal greens and mushrooms which are all in good supply over winter and packed full of nutrients.
Drink plenty of water
We all know the importance of drinking water in the hotter months, but many forget to stay hydrated in winter. It’s easy to forget to drink water during the day as your body’s thirst response significantly drops in colder weather. Remembering to stay hydrated is important as it helps to regulate your body temperature, helps your blood carry important nutrients and oxygen around your body and removes toxins. Staying hydrated also increases your energy levels, protects your immune system, helps your digestive system and metabolism and improves your skin! To give you that extra nutritional boost to support your immune system try adding White Wolf Nutrition – Greens + Gut Health & Immunity, ATP Science – Multifood and ATP Science – Gutright Daily into your diet.
Pimp your pantry
Pimping your pantry with some warming spices such as turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, curry powder, paprika and cumin will make winter meals more exciting and they have many health benefits that go beyond flavour.
We know winter can be hard but hopefully these tips will help you to reach for the right foods your body is craving. If you are finding it hard to get all the nutrients your body needs try Ghost Legend which has 50mg Citrus Aurantium to give you the vitamin C boost you need to get you through the colder months!