When the weather gets cold, you become more tempted to stay indoors and eat heartier meals, which often leads to weight gain due to a decrease in exercise and an increased calorie intake, says dietician Susan Morris.
She recommends the following tips for staying healthy:
- Don’t neglect your five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Be sure to up your intake of seasonal produce such as citrus fruit, grapes, cranberries and root vegetables.
- Increasing your vitamin C intake helps stave off colds and flu. Eat foods such as citrus fruit, spinach, sweet potato, pumpkin and broccoli.
- Supplement your diet with a quality multivitamin and probiotics.
- You are more prone to crave carbohydrates in cold weather. Opt for quality carbs such as whole-grains and high-fibre vegetables such as squashes and sweet potatoes.
- Cook hearty, healthy meals that will sustain energy levels and warm you up. Soups and stews with plenty of vegetables, lentils and legumes are a tasty and easy option. Steer clear of canned or frozen vegetables; opt for fresh produce instead.
- Instead of filling yourself up on unhealthy snacks, opt for fruit, nuts, herbal teas, dried fruit, celery and carrots.
- Exercise at least four times a week. Try activities that are more conducive to colder weather such as indoor yoga, Pilates or aerobics classes.
- Decrease your red meat intake and opt for fish instead (at least twice a week). Fish, such as salmon, sardines and anchovies, are high in omega-3 fatty acids and help prevent colds and flu.
- Foods that are high in zinc, such as chicken, fish, eggs and milk, also helps to build a strong immune system and fight off infection.