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“It’s cold and I’m hungry!” How To Manage Your Winter Nutrition

“It’s cold and I’m hungry!”  How To Manage Your Winter Nutrition

1. Pick the Right Carbs
During the cold, winter months, you may feel yourself craving more carbohydrates than usual. There’s a good reason for this: with fewer hours of sunlight, the level of ‘feel-good’ serotonin stored in your brain can become depleted. To compensate for declining serotonin levels, your brain tells your body it needs more, resulting in an increased craving for carbohydrate-loaded comfort foods that boost serotonin production. But not all carbohydrates are the same, so avoid simple carbohydrates such as sugary snacks and eat complex carbohydrates that will take longer to break down and provide a longer, more sustained level of energy. Opt for whole grain bread and pastas, beans, and think of seasonal foods; good wintertime sources of carbohydrates include pumpkins, squashes and sweet potatoes.

2. Vitamin D
Fewer hours of sunlight each day and colder temperatures that keep you indoors can result in your body taking in less vitamin D than it receives during the summer, which is generated in our bodies via sunlight. For this reason, you need to ensure that you receive enough vitamin D during the winter. Sources of vitamin D include fortified milk and other dairy products, eggs – especially the yolks – and fatty fish such as salmon.

3. Boost Your Immunity
There’s no sure way to prevent catching a cold, but there are some steps you can take to minimize the risk. Focus on foods that boost your immune system such as probiotics, present in yogurt, and antioxidants present in foods and vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, citrus fruit, sweet potato and spinach. Increasing your zinc intake can also help you fight off infections. Foods rich in zinc include fish, poultry, eggs, milk and unprocessed grains and cereals.

4. Beware of Overeating
Both adults and kids have a tendency to overeat during the winter; therefore, it is very important to watch your portion sizes. To avoid a winter waistline try using a smaller plate, filling half your plate with vegetables and avoiding distractions (like the TV) at meal times. Try to reduce ‘non-hungry eating’ by asking yourself whether you are actually hungry or whether instead you might be looking for food because you are bored or tired.

In conclusion, even when it is cold, your body needs to keep hydrated and you still need to drink 6-8 glasses of fluid each day – and remain active! Winter is not a reason to gain weight, on the contrary, remember that summer bodies are made during the winter time.

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