There are a few tricks to avoiding piling on the kilos over winter. We went to nutritionist Michele Chevalley Hedge for her best advice on which foods to stock up on when it’s cold.
Here are the top tips on staying slim in winter:
1. Make the switch to wholefoods
The colder weather can spark cravings for comforting “white” refined carbohydrate foods such as breads, white pasta and rice. All of which can cause blood sugar levels to spike, leading to over eating. Instead the best foods to tuck into are those in their most natural state: wholefoods. These wholesome foods such as brown rice, quinoa, legumes, and oats are rich in fibre, are digested slowly, helping you to stay fuller for longer. Being in their closest natural state, wholefoods are high in vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, which can help to boost our immunity and ward of colds and flu. A good guide is to eat three wholefood-rich meals per day, including two good-quality snacks, such as:
Breakfast: two poached eggs, served on a handful of baby spinach, topped with tomato salsa and a small amount of feta cheese.
Snack: small handful of almonds or walnuts- (protein has no sugar and keeps blood sugar stable)
Lunch: roast chicken (it can be leftovers from dinner) with rocket, baby tomatoes, and a handful sof lentils, drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice.
Snack: a cup of plain yogurt with some cinnamon or vanilla on top
Dinner: grilled Snapper fillet with olive oil and lemon zest, sweet potato mash and steamed green beans, sprinkled with sesame seeds.
2. Pick your protein wisely
A simple to trick to warding off weight gain is to include top-quality, low-fat protein in every meal, such as lean meats, fish, chicken, eggs, and legumes. These foods have a thermogenic effect, which means they help the body burn fat during digestion (the body burns 90 calories digesting a 300 calorie chicken breast). Protein-rich foods also help to promote fullness, regulate blood sugar levels and balance moods. A good guide is to keep protein servings to the size and thickness of your palm.
Exampled of wholesome sources of protein include…
Grass fed beef, lamb, pork, chicken organic eggs, cheese and fish like salmon, trout, halibut. Don’t forget your nuts and seeds are protein too.
3. Stay hydrated
Hunger can often be confused for thirst. So if you’re feeling peckish late afternoon, ask yourself: how much water did I drink today? Dehydrating can prompt hunger pangs, headaches, congested skin, and even constipation. So try to drink at least two litres of water per day. Sipping on light soups, sparkling water with lemon, and herbal teas will boost hydration levels too. For an extra nutrition boost, try drinking green tea (rich in antioxidants), liquorice tea (to beat sugar cravings), or cinnamon tea (great for reducing blood sugar)
4. Add some spice
One of the best ways to maintain a healthy weight is to cut out high-fat butter or creamy sauces and flavour to food with spices instead. Adding tasty spices such as cinnamon, cumin, coriander, turmeric, peppercorns, mustard seeds, and garlic to your food will not only be a treat to your taste buds, they help boost health too. These spices are rich in antioxidants which help mop up the age-inducing free radicals that our bodies are exposed to daily. If you like things hot, chilli and cayenne, both themogenic foods, will help fire your metabolism up too. Or try ginger and turmeric, both which have been proven to assist with inflammation in the body.
Top 10 foods to shop for in winter
1. Quinoa: a low-fat source of protein
2. Lentils: rich in iron for those non meat eaters
3. Black beans: excellent in Mexican dishes
4. Coconut oil: contains good fats
5. Walnuts and Brazil nuts
6. Avocado: as a side with everything
7. Apples: lots of varieties, crunchy, tasty and fibrous
8. Fresh fish: essential fatty acids for your joints, skin, and hormones
9. Grass-fed beef: protein for lean muscle mass
10. Free-range chicken: not as expensive as organic but usually pasture fed