Plus, many people find that colder weather leaves them craving comfort foods and feeling hungrier, making it more difficult to stick to a healthy eating regimen.
Studies have shown that there is a tendency for people to consumer higher calories, and eat more carbs and fats during the cooler months. This may be linked to century-old survival instincts to stock up on fat for the harsh winter months, or could simply be because people tends towards heartier, heavier meals for comfort in the cold weather.
Here are some simple, sure-fire tips to keep cravings for comfort food satisfied over the cooler months, without sacrificing healthy eating regimen or stacking on extra kilos.
Roasted veggies are the best way to pack important nutrients into a winter diet while also satisfying cravings for something warm and hearty.
Whether it’s roasting some pumpkin or carrots in the oven, or making some home-made sweet potato chips, vegetables are both filling and tasty.
Cooking veggies in some good quality olive oil also provides a dose important healthy fats and antioxidants essential for a healthy heart and glowing, hydrated skin and hair.
An easy way to make a healthy but satisfying winter lunch is to pre-roast some vegetables at the start of each week, and throw them in a salad each morning with some leafy greens, feta cheese, nuts or grilled meat.
Winter is, of course, prime time to reach for a steaming mug of something warm and delicious.
While it’s tempting to reach for a hot chocolate or cappuccino when snuggled on the couch or out on a coffee date, opting for a herbal tea is an easy way to satisfy cravings without adding excessive, sugary calories into the diet.
A cup of herbal tea, with no milk or sugar, has an average of only 2.4 calories, not to mention that many herbal teas have wonderful health benefits – whether it’s anti-oxidant filled green tea, chamomile tea for bloating or peppermint tea for digestion.
Try a few different herbal tea flavours to find one that hits the spot.
Nothing hits the spot like a heart winter soup. Broth-based soups can be low in calories and packed with nutritionally rich vegetables.
Research has also shown that consuming a low-calorie, broth-based soup as a starter makes people consume less (but still feel equally full) when eating their main meal.
However, it is best to avoid soups that contain large amounts of cream, salt or butter (as these quickly become high in calories and unhealthy processed ingredients), and be wary of eating too much bread, noodles or unhealthy sides when eating soup.
Check out this list of tasty, healthy soup recipes from Lexi’s Kitchen (including paleo, gluten free, dairy free and vegan recipes).
Warm, hearty, carbohydrate-rich meals like pasta and toasted sandwiches are a common winter craving. Making the simple switch from white carbohydrates to wholegrain carbohydrates both cuts calories and increases the nutritional benefits of these meals.
Wholegrain products are processed less, and contain higher levels of protein and fibre, making it an all-round better choice for health.
According to the USDA, one cup of regular spaghetti contains 221 calories, while a cup of wholegrain spaghetti contains only 174.
With the ease of covering a bloated belly with an oversized sweater, it’s easy to overeat in the colder months. Being wary of portion sizes and not overeating is super important in maintaining a healthy weight and promoting a healthy heart and good digestion.
According to a healthy eating guide be Femail, which compares portion sizes to well-known objects, a portion of red meat should only be the size of a deck of cards, a portion of (wholegrain) pasta or rice should be equivalent to the size of a tennis ball, a portion of chicken the size of a bar of soap.
Being wary of portion sizes is also highly important when eating out, with studies showing that portion sizes in restaurants have doubled or tripled over the last 20 years.
If eating out with friends or on a date, opt to split one meal between two, or share one starter and one main instead of ordering one huge portion each.
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