Healthy Fall Eating Habits
Staying Healthy And Slim This Fall
Keeping your body well-nourished during the winter can be difficult; but it’s crucial to ward off those extra pounds and those pesky germs!
Follow these 5 Nutrition Tips to Curb Carb Cravings and Boost your Immunity...
As the autumn leaves fall to the ground and the temperature continues to drop in many areas of the country, people become increasingly challenged to maintain a healthy diet. There are several reasons why we struggle with healthy eating during the colder months, making it somewhat of a luxury in the fall and winter.
Combine decreased physical activity, more comfort foods and more hibernation, and you’re set up for bad behavior that will require drastic changes come spring. Keeping your body well-nourished during the winter can be difficult; but it’s crucial to ward off those extra pounds and those pesky germs!
With the seasonal change, our lives get busier. What typically suffers most when life gets super busy is healthy nutrition. Preparing a healthy meal often takes a lot of time, a luxury that many people don’t have, especially during the busy winter months. It’s much easier to make something quick and easy after a hard day, especially when it’s already dark outside when you get home from work. That’s precisely when we pop something into the microwave or dig into that box of cookies- damage all around!
Another lesser known reason that healthy eating can be so difficult in the winter is the lack of sunlight. As it gets darker earlier, we get less exposure to the sun, which can lead to a drop in serotonin, our “feel-good” hormones. That drop can cause depression and food cravings- usually for carbohydrate-laden cuisine, notorious for providing more padding and wreaking havoc on our immune systems.
Holidays are an obvious one. Food is a primary part of most fall and winter celebrations. The increased consumption of refined sugar and alcohol leads to weight gain and a super-stressed immune system. While munching on a few holiday treats here and there is expected, indulging in too many nutrient-void foods can bring on those extra pounds faster than you could say “apple pie”!
You do not have to be doomed for a dreadful diet this season! Fall is a great time for change. Follow these fall/winter healthy eating habits to help increase your energy, prevent weight gain, and enhance your immunity and mood. The most important part of balancing a hectic life is to ensure your energy is at its peak, and your body is functioning at its best.
- Prep in advance. Grocery shopping on Sunday, or ordering your groceries online prevents you from making excuses for vending machine snacks, fast food, and microwave dinners. A bit of planning goes a long way! Make a list of everything you'll need for the week’s healthy meals and snacks and when you get home from shopping, cut up fresh veggies, make sandwiches, compile fruit salads and do as much prep work as you can for the upcoming week. Try different foods you like to find what will help you get through your day more efficiently.
- Choose your carbs wisely. Don’t ignore your cravings- the fewer hours of sunlight reduces your body’s serotonin, causing a need for comforting carbs. To boost serotonin, make sensible carb choices and opt for nutritious whole grains, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and squashes. A soy protein shake high in energy boosting proteins, vitamins and minerals will help stave off your hunger for unhealthy foods that only bring short term enjoyment. Add fruit and yogurt, and this delicious snack or meal replacement can even help with weight loss.
- Stay Hydrated. It may be cold and wet outside, but don’t forget to drink plenty of water to help flush toxins out of your body, keep your metabolism afloat, and help you feel overall healthier. Drink water at any temperature, and opt for green tea instead of coffee. Green tea, rich in polyphenols and catechins, helps combat viruses and increase metabolism and cholesterol reduction. If sweetening warm beverages makes drinking easier in the colder months, try a natural sweetener with a lower glycemic index such as agave nectar, stevia, or maple syrup.
Eat foods that keep you fuller for longer. On a chilly day, the thought of curling up on the couch with a bowl of canned soup or a plate of leftover holiday treats is enticing. To boost energy and keep you satisfied for longer, never go more than four or five hours without eating, and include some protein at each meal or snack — like individual tuna salad packs, cheese sticks, natural peanut butter, whole grain cereal and crackers, or nuts, which keep you fuller for longer. Stock up on healthy foods you can grab and eat on the go like bananas which are stuffed full of serotonin and dopamine, which is important for emotional balance.
Eat seasonal, colorful fruits and veggies, high in immune-enhancing antioxidants. Try pomegranates, cranberries, citrus fruits, purple grapes, and orange root vegetables to pack in healthy minerals and vitamins. Part of your winter diet should include fatty fish like salmon to get in those Omega-3s which helps elevate mood and reduce (seasonal) depression.
- Nurture your cold. While a specific diet or supplement is yet to be scientifically proven to effectively prevent a cold or flu, studies have shown that 1,000 mg of Vitamin C supplements may make your cold milder and shorten it by half a day. And for those yogurt fans, studies have also found that probiotics restore levels of healthy bacteria that protect our bodies from infection, which abounds during the winter months. For a more potent punch of probiotics, take a high quality probiotic supplement which delivers the equivalent of multiple tubs of yogurt in one capsule!