Beat the Winter Weight Gain Blues

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If you struggle with keeping your weight constant during the colder winter months, you aren’t alone.  According to an Australian national nutritional survey (1995) we typically eat more comfort foods, like pastries, chocolates and desserts, during the colder months. And this means taking in more kilojoules and fat, and an increased risk of gaining weight.  By watching carefully winter weight, it will be much easier to shed one or two extra kilos in the spring.

Avoid Comfort Food During Winter

So, how can we warm up with food during winter without compromising our health?  The allure of warm hot chocolate drinks, toasted marshmallows and hot pies are just about too much to resist on a chilly winter’s day.  Choosing your ‘comfort’ foods wisely and watching portion sizes is key to preventing winter weight gain.

The concept of  winter ‘comfort’ foods and healthy foods may not be one that we are used to putting together in the same sentence.  However, it is possible to warm up with winter foods and still make healthy choices. Melanie McGrice, spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) says that comfort foods need not be high in fat or kilojoules. ‘Try nourishing comfort foods like porridge with reduced-fat milk and fruit, chunky vegetable and lentil soups, and slow-cooked casseroles make with lean meat and vegetables like potato and carrot’.

Keeping up activity levels

Keeping up activity levels is also key during winter months to avoid extra kilos.  Dietitians recommend planning to avoid the traps of inactivity during colder or raining days and to divert yourself from the temptation of  poor food choices.   Using the following tips may just make spring a whole lot easier for you to lose those extra kilos.

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Cook Healthy Foods

Cook healthy soups and casseroles in bulk and freeze in meal-sized containers for a quick meal or to take to work. (Often more nutritious than resorting to a hot take-away at lunch time).

Piping hot drinks can be a great way to stay warm.  Use reduced-fat milk and limit added sugar.

Keep up a regular exercise routine over winter.  Rug up when heading outdoors and have bad weather options to fall back on, such as an exercise DVD.

Instead of pies and fruit crumbles which often are higher in saturated fats, try a baked apple with reduced fat custard for a healthy dessert.

Curries or hearty casseroles make a tasty meal on cold winter nights or weekends.  Choose lean meat cuts and experiment with different vegetables.  Cut off all visible fat before cooking.

Baked potatoes are a great winter warmer.  Top your potato with sliced mushrooms, reduced-fat cheese and chives.

Instead of hot chips, make your own potato wedges using spray cooking oil and herbs or Cajun spices to flavour the chips during cooking.