Winter’s Heavy Side

Winter’s Heavy Side

18 June 2019

Baby, it’s cold out there! But, ahh, comfort food… see, already you’re smiling inside!

Fact is, when the temperature plummets, we aren’t just reaching for blankets and hot water bottles, but also for heavier more warming foods. What better way to keep warm than with hearty stews and casseroles? Add a pizza here, a glass of sherry there… and before you know it, you’re buying a bigger pair of jeans come spring!

Feeling cold triggers a self-preservation mode that sends the body a message to heat up fast. And that message is often played out as a craving for carbohydrate-rich foods – sugars and starches that provide that instant heat boost your body is longing for. Translation: we need more food to meet our body’s increased energy demands. And this is why winter, for most people, means weight gain.

Unfortunately there’s no clever advice on how to avoid the charms of comfort food, but we’d like to pass on a few helpful tips to help you manage your weight successfully during this most challenging time of the year.

So, first of all, be smart about it. Cut portion sizes and enjoy a bit of everything. It’s not just about what you eat, but how much as well. All things in moderation, right?

Try to bump up meals with fruit and vegetables. There’s lots to love about seasonal winter foods. Just think of the amazing colours of beetroot, squash and pumpkin and beautiful fruits like citrus, apples and pears – all packed with vitamins and minerals! Dedicate one meal a day to being veggies. Thick soups are great winter foods with a surprisingly low-calorie count, as long as you choose those thickened with lentils or sweet potato, rather than potatoes or cream.

Explore low-carb options. Love noodles? Try zoodles, zucchini noodles – all you have to do is google “low carb recipes” and you’ll be inundated with ideas. It’s important not to cut out all carbs to make sure your serotonin level doesn’t drop low enough to trigger an all-out binge. Have a baked potato, and a delicious whole-wheat pasta occasionally. (Remember, dark chocolate is lower in carbs than white chocolate!)

Try not to drink your calories. It’s hard to resist creamy hot chocolate or a warming glass of sherry every night, but it’s a sure way to pack on the winter padding. Stick to tea or coffee without the extras most of the time.

Enjoy classic stews and casseroles made with lean meat and lots of root vegetables. Parsnips and turnips are perfect for hearty meals and lean proteins help you to feel warm and full and have zinc to help boost your immune system. Garlic is a powerhouse because it adds flavour and contains the antioxidant allicin, which may help reduce our risk of catching colds. You may also find that a high protein meal can help to break the carb craving cycle – so, just opt for a good portion of chicken breast, tuna, lean meat, or seafood every day.

Remember to start your day with a breakfast high in fibre and protein, such as porridge with milk, to keep you fuller for longer. Also, drink plenty of water, put down the remote and take a brisk walk. No sweat, right?

Let’s all try to beat the bulge as June folds its icy arms around us.


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

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