Now that the colder weather is here, it may feel natural to hunker down and hibernate with cozy blankets and comfort food. Unfortunately, you’re not a bear and packing on pounds for a deep winter sleep isn’t an option (or at least not a healthy one). Resisting the hearty, starchy bread bowls of chili can seem next to impossible, but we promise you it’s not. While you’re waiting out the winter, check out these easy tips for keeping your healthy lifestyle in check — your future spring self will thank you.
Curb the Carb Cravings
Doesn’t it feel like cold weather equals more carb cravings? It might not be your imagination. In fact there have been studies out there that show the “winter blues” can trigger your body to want all the carbs. That’s because carbs help your body create serotonin in an attempt to counteract the depression. Nice to know you’re not imagining it, right?
Try timing you carb intake around your cravings and trick your body into craving something you’re already going to give it. For example, if you know your carb alarm is going to go off in the afternoon, stick to a healthy breakfast and lunch full of protein and veggies. Then, when you’re body wants something carb-y, feed the craving — you won’t overdo it because you’ve planned for it.
Go Back to Your Roots
Eating yummy melon and berries may be sooooo last season (or literally two seasons ago) but it doesn’t mean there’s not plenty of seasonal fruits and veggies to enjoy now! Winter produce can bring you comfort and give you the warm fuzzies if you just know what to look for.
Root veggies like carrots, beets and turnips can survive the cold weather — and they can help you survive it, too! They add wonderful color and flavor to soups and salads and also pack a nutritional punch, like antioxidants and beta-carotene.
Another plus to the seasonal veggies? Shopping in season can help keep your grocery bill down. Cha-ching to that!
It may seem like a weird one, but good old fashioned H20 is just as important now as it was 50 degrees ago. Sure, you may not be sweating and suffering from heat waves like you were this summer, but your body still needs water to survive. And actually, the threat for dehydration may go up as the temperatures drop.
While your water intake should go up, try to keep your alcohol intake down. Or at least in control. It’s easy to open a nice, rich bottle of red wine with your hearty winter meal and feel the warmth from within. And it’s really festive to warm up by the fire with a hot toddy. Although you might be feeling down with the dropping temperatures, stressed during the holiday season or just plain cold, keep your drinks in check. Too many alcoholic beverages are never good for your health, no matter what the season.
You may already be taking a multivitamin as part of your healthy lifestyle, and that’s great. But you may want to supplement other vitamins your body might be lacking during the winter. Vitamin D is a good example. Vitamin D can be produced by your skin when it’s exposed to UV rays. But during winter, you’re obviously not soaking up the sun. And since it’s essential for bone and muscle health, it’s something you definitely want in your body. Chat with your doctor about what supplements might be right for you during these frigid months.
Hearty Can Be Healthy
We may seem like we’re very against cozy comfort food, but we’re not (we promise). Comfort foods should just be enjoyed in moderation. And great news: There a lots of ways to make your hearty, cozy cuisine a little healthier by simply adding more veggies, switching out protein for a lower-fat option or finding other ingredient substitutions that can trick your tastebuds into not even realizing you’re staying on the healthy train. Pinterest is FULL of healthy comfort food recipes, and the Food Network also has some ideas. If you try one, let us know — we’re always looking for good stuff to make in the kitchen.
Healthy lifestyles can always be a bit tricky to maintain through seasonal changes. But there are ways to embrace winter and stay on track. Do you have any tips for staying the course even if you have to take the snow route to healthy living? Share below!