When the temperature drops outside, it’s tempting to reach for comforting, high-calorie food and avoid exercise. Feeling cold, along with short days and weight gain can lead to the onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder or depression in the winter months. Fleet Street Clinic’s Consultant Dietician, Ruth Kander BSc (Hons) gives some practical advice on what you can do to avoid the winter blues.
By eating foods from all the food groups, you will have all the nutrients you need to stay healthy and keep winter germs at bay whilst maintaining your energy levels.
These will give you vitamins and minerals to help your body fight winter bugs. Vitamin C is especially beneficial in the fight against colds and sore throats. Avoid taking supplements which contain high concentrations of vitamins which can lead to medical problems. Fruit and vegetables high in vitamin C include kiwi, citrus fruits, spinach, pumpkin and sweet potato. Zinc is also a good mineral to help fight winter infections and boost the immune system. Foods containing zinc include: fish, oysters, poultry, eggs, milk, unprocessed grains and cereals. If you’re short on time, using a blender to create a vegetable and fruit drink is a great way to pack your diet full of vitamins. Try combining lettuce, cucumber, spinach, ginger, berries and a dash of orange juice and water for a zingy, low-sugar start to the day.
Good foods to store include:
Make soups and casseroles in advance and freeze, so that you can come home to a nutritious meal the evenings. Simply take out of the freezer in the morning so that they are ready heat up after work.
To avoid eating too many carbohydrates, try eating your meals at the table with the TV turned off, use smaller plates and reserve half your dinner plate for vegetables. If you want more after your first serving, have some soup or more hot vegetables.
It’s tempting to reduce your exercise regime in the colder months. But small efforts can go a long way to help stave off winter weight gain. Going for a regular, brisk walk or using an exercise video at home can be enough to maintain your weight and stay healthy over the winter.
Try to avoid getting dehydrated as this can make you feel overly tired and run down. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day that are either low calorie or calorie free – aim for 2 litres a day. Be aware that your daily hot drink from the coffee shop can contain 360 calories or more! Looking for an alternative to still water? Try green tea, regular tea, herbal teas, regular coffee, hot no added sugar cordial or lemon water.
Ruth Kander holds a clinic on Thursday mornings at Fleet Street Clinic for individual dietician consultations and ongoing weight management courses. To book an appointment with Ruth, contact us – call 020 7353 5678 or email email@example.com
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