It’s not unusual for people to change their eating patterns from summer to winter. We tend not to want the lighter meals and refreshing summer salads and feel more like tucking into richer and heartier foods like casseroles, roasts, soups and stews. We also tend to hibernate and as our activity levels fall and our calorie intake increases weight is gained! This is avoidable!
As the temperatures drop, it doesn’t mean your healthy eating habits get dropped too! Your nutritional requirements remain the same year round – a balanced diet of healthy wholegrain carbs, good quality protein, full fat/low sugar dairy and the 5+ a day of fruit and vegetables. Although the fresh fruit and vegetable options may be more limiting during winter don’t forget to check out the freezer at your local supermarket, the frozen fruit & veges are just as good. Also try out healthy new recipes to incorporate the seasonal produce that is available into your meals.
Preparing and cooking your own hearty winter meals is always the best option rather than relying on pre-packaged TV meals which contain highly processed foods and are usually loaded with preservatives, flavor enhancers, Trans fat, salt or sugar.
When you prepare your own meals you are responsible for what goes into it so make sure you use lean meats and trim off all the visible fat (and remove the skin from chicken). There can be lots of hidden calories in sauces so make your own sauces instead with wholesome ingredients and place them on the side of your plate so you can add a little when required, rather than smothering your meal in it.
Often it may not be ‘what’ we are eating but ‘how much’ we are eating. People who tend to have issues with gaining weight in winter are simply eating too much food at each meal. Therefore it is the portion size that needs to be changed. A useful tip is to put your vegetables on your plate first = half the plate, the two remaining quarters are for your protein and carbs/fat. I’ve noticed dinner plates getting much bigger, so be mindful of the actual size of your plate too!