Winter is that time of year when we tend to reach more for our comfort foods, now that we are spending more time indoors than usual and our normal activities are restricted. There is no coincidence that we instinctively look for foods that will keep us warm, but equally filling. It’s also when we seem to consume more carbohydrates and sugary foods than normal. This can be down to the colder climates, the shorter days or the grey and rainy winter months. Regardless of the reason, these warm foods and drinks are often richer, and heavier in fat, carbs, and/or added sugars. These types of foods release glucose straight to our brain which gives us an instant feeling of happiness when we are feeling cold, sad, tired or bored.
So how do we keep our cravings at bay during the winter months and stick to a healthy diet?
Below are some tips to keep you motivated:
- Shop and store healthy alternatives to your favourite foods that are low in calorie.
- Fill up on low-carb dishes i.e. soups, stews, plenty of fibre-rich vegetables and protein to help keep you satisfied and fuller for longer.
- Choose healthy snacks, rich in fibre, that will reduce your hunger cravings and help to burn calories. For example; fruits, vegetables, yoghurt, nuts, whole grain bread or crackers and hummus.
- No matter how cold the weather is, get outside and get your dose of Vitamin D and serotonin.
- If you are suffering from depression and need more support, get advice immediately. MIND is a mental health crisis hotline. All of their staff are trained and there to listen. They won’t judge you, but help you make sense of what you are feeling.
- Exercise! It will help you burn calories, lift your mood and take your mind off your food cravings. When we feel physically fit, we tend to pay more attention to eating healthy.
- Share your health journey with a friend or someone who can offer you support.
- Your physical and mental health is important! BUT it is a life long journey. Be kind to yourself, take it one day at a time and most importantly be realistic with your targets and expectations.