Our wonderful dietitian, Liv Morrison has shed some light on how you can best look after your body with food during the colder months. She’s also explained the reasons behind why we get those winter cravings rolling in!
Regardless of the time of year, the key principles of healthy eating remain consistent. However, we do have different nutritional needs in the winter months! For example; our energy (calorie) and vitamin D requirements are higher in winter compared to the rest of the year. People often reduce their water and fibre intake and spend less time exercising outside, all of which impacts our mental health and immunity! Both of these things are incredibly important to look after and we can help to support them through our food choices.
It’s best to choose meals that align with seasonal preferences. Not to point out the obvious, but there’s a reason we usually opt for hot, cooked meals instead of salads and smoothies at this time of year. The reason behind this is because there is an increase in hunger hormones in the colder months as our bodies want to lay a little extra fat to keep warm and account for the increase in calorie requirements needed for thermoregulation. That’s why a lot of us find ourselves gravitating towards warm comfort foods like curries, stews, porridge and pasta.
So what can you do to help support body in winter, keep it feeling satisfied and combat the cravings?
Eating a plant rich diet, high in protein and complex carbohydrates in winter is a fantastic way you can increase your consumption of ‘good mood foods’ and support your immunity. This style of eating can also allow you to increase the volume of your meals, helping to satisfy your natural increase in hunger throughout winter! My favourite winter comfort recipes, packed with immune-supporting nutrients on the KIC App are the; One Pot Carrot Dahl, Peri-Peri Chicken Tray Bake and Potato and Green Pea Curry. If you haven’t had them, you’re missing out!
Another primary cause of cravings is dehydration, so remember to keep drinking plenty of fluids despite the cold! If you’re struggling with cold drinks, caffeinated beverages like tea and coffee don’t dehydrate you (old wives’ tale) and do count towards your daily water consumption. If you’re concerned about unintentionally increasing your caffeine intake over winter, go for herbal teas or warm ginger and lemon water instead.
To wrap it up simply, when you’re cold, warming food is ideal to keep you satisfied and full. I’m all about opting for the recipes that make you feel good!
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