Research shows that many adults gain a pound or two during the winter - and the extra weight tends to stick around all year.
I'm not sure you and I need a scientific study to prove the point. Anyone who has lived through a Wisconsin winter had experienced it firsthand.
Comfort foods vs. comfortable-fitting clothes
Wisconsinites know the comforts of cocooning on a severe winter day or two or 20. Inside, we long for our fresh farmers' market produce days and non-wintery walks, but we also hibernate in a food culture full of goodies.
It isn't easy. The Packers are on. The easy chair begs our company. We soothe our mood with comforting meat and potato meals, plus a small feast of the greatest cheeses on earth, and great beer!
It's only human to choose to eat our way through the "winter blues." But self-care is also a powerful choice. We don't have to wait until summer to seek our healthiest self. We can choose to fight those not-so-good winter eating habits right now.
How to: eat healthy in winter
- 1. Start meals with a low-calorie soup. It's filling and satisfying in colder months, and eating soup first might reduce your caloric intake by as much as 20%. Try reduced sodium, broth-based soups with 100-150 calories per serving.
- 2. Roasting vegetables adds a slightly sweeter, caramelized flavor. Try carrots, sweet potatoes, Brussel sprouts, or butternut squash for starters.
- 3. Use a slow cooker for dinner. You can cook leaner, healthier cuts of meat for longer to tenderize them.
- 4. Substitute quinoa for white rice. It's not really a grain but a pseudo-cereal that cooks in about 20 minutes. Quinoa is gluten-free and provides fiber and iron. It's also considered a complete protein, a feature not commonly found in plant foods.
- 5. Fresh vegetables and fruit may seem more expensive and less readily available in winter, but include them! Frozen vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh, so don't shy away from them.
- 6. Stay hydrated. Don't mistake your body's cue for fluid as hunger. Winter or summer, you need to stay hydrated.
Let's take it one winter at a time.
My next blog explores the health benefits of volunteering and serving others. Till then, take care.