With the colder winter weather come coughs, colds and the flu season, plus, for some of us, winter weight gain. It’s an important time to make sure you stay on top of your diet and keep yourself well-nourished. A healthy diet will not only prevent one from winter illnesses but it will also help maintain one’s immune system. If ever you are sick, a nutritious diet can help speed up your recovery. Maintaining proper diet and exercise routines is also necessary to ward off illness.
The winter season can be busy and exciting. With so many events like family dinners, holiday parties, and the preparation and planning for gift giving, we have plenty of distractions to keep us from focusing on our health and taking care of ourselves as we would normally. There are winter wellness tips and ideas to ensure you have lots of ways to stay healthy, fit and safe in this cold weather.
1.) Increase your protein
During winters we tend to turn towards hot carbohydrate-rich comfort foods. Hence, balancing meals in terms of proteins, carbohydrates are important. Always aim for proteins at each meal and snack to keep appetite under control. Proteins help to curb the sugar cravings and balance the blood sugar levels, thus, maintaining weight. Include more of pulses, paneer, lentils, yoghurt, milk etc to get a good amount of protein. Be mindful about your carbohydrate intake.
2.) Start your meals with a soup bowl
Have a bowl of fresh veggie soup daily before lunch and dinner. This is the easiest way to up your vegetable intake during the day. This practice will provide you with numerous benefits. It will not only keep you full but also control your total calorie consumption of the meal, thus, managing your weight. Soups will soothe your throat and keep you warm in harsh weather. You can have fresh soup using various seasonal vegetables flavoured with black pepper powder, ginger, garlic, and mixed herbs. Sprouts, paneer or dal can be added to increase the nutrient density.
3.) Eat more veggies and fibre
Make fresh fruits and vegetables your best friends. They are not only rich in fibre but also the much-needed antioxidants and vital nutrients. Fruits and veggies can be consumed in varied ways giving a variety to the diet. Have a stock of Vitamin C rich fruits and veggies which can help fight cold and flu. Fibre is an essential part of our diet. Include whole grains, legumes, fruits, and veggies in adequate amounts to have good satiety and avoid food cravings.
4.) Stay hydrated
There are strong chances of confusing thirst with hunger in winters. So every time you have a craving for something to eat, have a glass of water and give yourself some time to let the craving subside. Staying hydrated in cold weather has many health benefits. So have plenty of water, sip on different herbal teas like green tea, ginger tea or various homemade tea/fluids. This will aid in better digestion, will keep you warm and help stay fit.
5.) Snack wisely
Snacking is a good habit. But what matters is what you snack. With a drop in temperature, carbohydrate-rich foods are craved for. Stay away from these as they increase your blood sugar immediately and also will increase your weight. Try to have whole grains, millets, porridges, pulses and legumes, makhana, fresh fruits etc to satisfy your cravings.
6.) Seek healthy comforts
We all love comfort foods like samosa, chocolate, pizza, pasta, pakoras, momos etc. But there is a way to make these healthier. Roast, grilled or steamed in place of fried foods; mix veg in place of fries, chips, veggie pasta instead of creamy etc.
7.) Don’t skip meals
Skipping meals can make you feel hungry and cause you to stuff yourself with unhealthy stuff. Have a hearty healthy breakfast and at least 3-4 other meals every day. Avoid eating just one full meal a day; instead, break large portions into 3-5 smaller portions and have these at regular intervals throughout the day.
8.) Practice mindful eating
Eat mindfully. Eat slowly and enjoy the flavours of your food. Chew each bite more times thus making it easy to digest and avoid overeating. Concentrate on your food. Avoid screens or working while having food.
9.) Get some sunshine
With decreased sunlight in winters, the body is low on Vitamin D and the serotonin levels drop too. Hence, expose yourself to sunlight daily as it helps in increasing the serotonin levels in the body coupled with synthesizing Vitamin D as both improves mood, control excessive cravings and stabilize mood swings.