Frosty outside and warm inside. Sound like your body all winter? A few things happen over the winter; colds and the flu, seasonal affected disorder (SAD) and hibernation mode is on full that has you sitting on the couch with a big bowl of snacks every night. Let me break down a few things for you to sail through the winter without racking up those sick days, feeling down in the dumps and maintain your weight.
Beat those bugs
These seem to come at you and your kids constantly. Ward off all the nasties by keeping the immune system strong.
What to do:
• Make hearty vegetable rich soups with homemade chicken stock
• Add garlic to any and every dish you make
• Reduce the consumption of sugar and sweets
• Take a supplement of vitamin C and D daily
• Increase orange vegetables and fruits for more beta-carotene
• Add onions to as many meals or foods as possible
• Eat more kiwis. They contain more vitamin C than oranges do.
Keep SAD at bay
Seasonal affective disorder can make you crave sweets, carbs and feel down and grumpy. The lower levels of vitamin D available to the body by exposure to the sun has a large part to play in this. The yo-yo-ing of blood sugar balance mimics your up and down mood. Increase lean meat and oily fish in your diet.
What to do:
• Eat more eggs
• Take a vitamin D supplement daily
• Reduce the refined carbohydrates like white bread, rice and pasta.
• Increase whole grains like brown rice, quinoa and barley (great in soups)
• Get out in the sunshine as often as possible
• Avoid sugary drinks and pop and drink more water
Watch your weight
Winter weight gain is a phenomenon. Heavy, baggy clothes can hide a pound here and there, but it’s the health implications associated with increased weight that’s more of a worry. Exercising in the dark and cold morning or evening may not fill you with enthusiasm, but is a fantastic energy booster that’ll help balance cravings.
What to do:
• Set a rule not to eat after 8:00 pm
• Stop buying chips, cakes and cookies
• Find a favourite tea to enjoy in the evening
• Increase protein intake at each meal
• Include snacks in your day, around two to three hours after a meal
• Start your day with eggs, homemade oatmeal or french toast
• Reduce white or refined carbohydrates and replace with whole grains
It’s a theme to increase whole foods and protein in all situations. As you make efforts with your diet, rather than let it go by the wayside, you’ll not only have more balanced energy but also keep those bugs and extra pounds away. It’s a win-win situation.