Nutrition Tips for The Winter

Winter is here and with it come the snuggling, hanging out in home and lots of soups! I really love the winter but a-lot of people have the “Winter blues”… and when you’re depress you may eat more than usual, although you’re not really that hungry. Good nutrition and healthy habits can keep us healthy and happy also during the winter. Keep reading and find out what you can do (and eat) to keep that smile on your face.

  • In the winter we are less exposed to the sun and that’s why our Serotonin ( the “good mood” hormone) levels are lower than usual. Eating carbs also increases our serotonin levels. When our serotonin levels are low, our body feels it and makes us yearn for some carbs. It’s important to know the difference between “good” and “bad” carbs so we can make smart nutrition choices.
  • Vitamin D deficiency is also very common in the winter because we are less exposed to the sun. If there’s a sunny day, go outside and get some vitamin D (which also helps absorb calcium). You can get vitamin D from fish such as tuna, salmon, herring, eggs, dairy products,  liver, eggs or of course- you can take a supplement.
  • Although winter doesn’t offer the same variety of fruits that we have in the summer but you can try to vary the fruits you eat as much as you can: oranges, strawberries, apples, pears, pomegranate etc. Try to eat as many colors of fruits you can because each color represents different nutrients.
  • Got the sniffles? Many people get a cold during the winter. Although it’s not evidence-based, 1000 mg of vitamin C a day can shorten the cold period and ease the symptoms. Despite what you may think, oranges are not the fruit richest in vitamin C but KIWI! also red bell-pepper, lemon and strawberries have a-lot of vitamin C. If for some reason you don’t eat fruits you can always use Vitamin C supplement.
  • Not eating enough, or eating too much can have negative affect on our immune system, which makes us more venerable to germs and diseases. A balanced diet which contains fruits and vegetables in every meal guarantees us a healthy immune system to fight the “bad guys”. A balanced daily diet includes: 45-65% carbs, 10-35% protein and 20-35% fat (it’s best to not consume more than 30% fat in your daily menu).
  • Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant and also strengthens our immune system. Foods rich in Vitamin A include liver, dairy products, eggs, sweet potato, squash, carrot, oranges, broccoli, spinach and cabbage.
  • Pro-biotic- Pro-biotic (BIO) germs strengthen our immune system. BIO Yogurt can actually shorten your cold period and protect you from infections and side effects of antibiotics.
  • soup– soup are fun, tasty and filling. Don’t ba lazy- make your own soup instead of buying some ready soup in a box. Fresh ingerdients are always better for you.
  • We tend to stay home when it’s cold outside, and when we’re home we tend to eat more. Before you eat everything in sight try to think if you’re really hungry or you’re just bored/cold/want to eat something in front of the TV? It’s not a simple thing to do but if you learn to identify what you feel when you eat, you can learn to eat only when you’re hungry. Our body a a very smart machine and has a whole system of hormones to make you eat when you really need to.

image credit: http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/807244/warm-and-hearty-soups

A few small changes can have a great impact…

1. Make hot cocoa at home using a real cocoa powder and a teaspoon of sugar.
2. Eat yams instead of regular potatoes.  they are more satisfying and healthy. You can also try to make mashed potatoes that contains also yams. Your kids would love the new color!
3. Try to start your meal with hot bowl of soup. It will make you eat less during the rest of your meal and will warm your soul 🙂
4. If you get home late and you’re too tired to cook, try cooking a day before or during the weekend and keep the food in the fridge.

So we had… fresh soups, yogurt, fruits, vegetables, whole wheat and a bit of sun… hey, if these are the things that will help to get by the winter it’s worth a shot no? Remember- summer also arrives after the winter, and it’s better if you avoid that exhausting diet before summer.

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