During winter, we may be a lot more tempted to skip our workout routine we maintained in previous months, and instead curl up on the couch and watch some Netflix. While it's good to relax, it's also important to stay active and healthy.
Dietician Themis Chryssidis shares his top tips for staying healthy during the cooler months.
Slow cooked meats and one pot wonders are one of the best things about winter. Food that satisfies our taste buds and warms our soul. The only problem with slow cooked meals is that they often lack vegetables and that’s simply because there aren’t many vegetables that can tolerate eight hours of cooking! This winter, when you are preparing your slow cook, chop up lots of vegetables that you can add to your slow cook with 20-30 minutes remaining. The vegetables will soak up the sauce and add flavour to the dish too. Try things like:
Or roast trays of brussels sprouts, pumpkin, cauliflower, broccoli and carrots to eat with your slow cook.
Tip: Use spices like cumin, carraway and paprika to add extra flavour to your vegetables and roast 3-4 trays at a time so you have plenty to use throughout the week.
Lunches in winter go from light sandwiches and salads to more hearty and energy dense hot foods such as pies, pasta and burgers. If you’re searching for a warm satisfying meal look for soups with crusty bread, vegetable rich stir fries or leftover slow cooked meats and vegetables.
In winter our portion sizes tend to creep up as we relax in the comfort of our own homes. Limit meats to 150g serves and in slow cook and casserole dishes aim for 100g with plenty of vegetables to stretch out the meat.
Also, be aware of serving sizes of grains that go with wet dishes such as rice, couscous and quinoa. Aim for ½ cup per meal and flesh these out with herbs, nuts and dried fruit for extra flavour, texture, fibre and nutrition. If you’re still hungry, add more vegetables!
In summer we drink water and cool drinks, while in winter due to our booming coffee culture we drink more lattes, cappuccinos and mochas. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a daily latte, if one per day during summer turns into three or four per day during winter your milk intake has increased from around 250ml per day to 1L. Although milk is a nutritious beverage it still contains energy and ultimately more energy = more kilojoules. When you’re looking for something warming try a cup of herbal tea, warm water with a squeeze of lemon or even room temperature water.
Tip: Don’t forget to keep your hydration up through winter, as we often perceive dehydration as hunger. When you’re at work set an alarm for every thirty minutes and drink half a glass of water every time the alarm sounds.
Don’t spend the weekend watching Netflix while it rains outside. In summer you were going for walks, swimming at the beach, gardening and much more. Over winter find other indoor activities that keep you moving like:
During winter our desire to exercise diminishes significantly. It’s too cold, dark and too wet to exercise. No problem, this is when gyms become useful. Tap your membership card and leave winter at the door. If you have a gym membership but still can’t get motivated to get out of bed, try going with a friend, paying a personal trainer or paying for specific classes, nobody wants to let their friend down or waste money!
Themis Chryssidis is an Accredited Practising Dietitian at Sprout Health Studio – a multidisciplinary health care studio in Adelaide. He has a Bachelor of Psychology, a Masters of Nutrition and Dietetics and a Cert IV in Fitness.