Friday, October 13, 2017
On average, people eat 86 more calories in the fall than in the spring, consume more saturated fat (processed foods), and are more sedentary. So how can you enjoy your favorite cold-weather comfort foods without the extra cold-weather calories?
Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water. If you’re not a water drinker, choose your flavor wisely. Avoid drinking sweet as it feeds your body’s sweet tooth – that addiction center of the brain. If you struggle with plain water, try a sparkling water.
Remember that a typical can of soda has 40 grams of sugar, so switching your beverage can make a big impact on your health habits. And with holidays around the corner, it makes a tasty way to serve a festive beverage without adding excess calories into your party. Try a splash of lime juice over ice, a few pomegranate seeds, mint leaves and top it off with a flavored sparkling water. And if you crave the soothing effect of a hot beverage, keep it simple and stay away from the caloric add-ins (cream, sugar, etc).
Be mood aware. Shorter days mean less sun exposure and whether you are diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder or just miss the light and warmth of spring and summer, food cravings – especially simple sugars and processed carbohydrates may crop up. How can you combat this? Be sure to get plenty of Vitamin D, and then keep your serotonin levels up with whole grains and complex carbohydrates. The good news is that seasonal foods we naturally gravitate to this time of year like yams, sweet potatoes and squash are great ways to keep those serotonin levels up.
Take time to cook. It may feel like your entire day is gone when you leave for work and return home in the dark, but you still have the same 24 hours. Use them wisely – 20 minutes in the morning to put something in the crockpot before work will save you money and calories by keeping you out of the drive thru on the way home (plus you’ll have delicious leftovers you can have for lunch, saving even more money and calories).
Keep seasonal produce on hand to make meals and snacks more balanced, flavorful and nutritious. Nothing boosts your immunity quite like a regular healthy dose of fruits and veggies. Don’t forget the freezer section if the fresh produce gets a bit pricey. The vitamin C, beta-carotene, and other antioxidants found in fruits and veggies will go along way to keeping your immune system as healthy as possible.
With all these healthful habits in place, the occasional seasonal treat or dessert won’t derail your efforts at keeping those cold-weather calories in check.