Have you ever noticed that during the winter season everyone tends to have less self control with comfort foods like sweets and holiday food? With colder temperatures and shorter days it is easy to feel depressed and have a lack of motivation. It is important to remember to stay focused and motivated, even though you may not feel like it.
Check out these 8 Nutrition Tips to help get you through those tough Winter months while still achieving your goals.
- Eat on a Regular Schedule. Meaning your meals and snacks should be consumed at about the same time each day. (for example – Breakfast at 7am, Morning Snack at 9am, Lunch at 12pm, Afternoon snack at 3pm, Dinner at 6pm). This will help prevent you from feeling hungry and overeating.
- Drink More Water. Do you ever feel tired during the day and the late afternoon? If so, you are probably dehydrated and need to drink some water. During the winter months, it is easy to get dehydrated as most people feel cold and therefore are not motivated to drink cold water.
- Increase your Fruit & Vegetable intake. Yes, we know there are not many that are “in season” during the winter, but you can still purchase and eat frozen fruits and vegetables from other seasons. It is always exciting to try new foods, so try some in-season fruits and vegetables, such as: Oranges, Tangerines, Pomegranates, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Turnips, Winter Squash.
- Eat Healthy Carbs. The longer hours of darkness during the winter can lead to drops in serotonin levels, which may cause the sad feelings known as the winter blues. It can even bring on some food cravings. Eating healthy carbohydrates can boost serotonin. Beets, Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Whole Grains, Yams
- Eat More Nuts. Prolonged periods of low sunlight also means that more of the sleep hormone melatonin is produced. This makes you tired, sluggish and unmotivated. In order to keep this in check, you need melatonin’s opponent, serotonin, which is formed from the amino acid All kinds of nuts, from peanuts and cashews, to hazelnuts and also sunflower seeds provide you with this valuable substrate.
- Eat Smaller Portions. You don’t have to avoid your favorite desserts, just have a smaller portion (example – 1 cookie vs 3-4 cookies at one setting). Consider changing out high calorie desserts for lower calorie desserts, like fruit.
- Vitamins. Vitamin supplements (Vitamin D3, Vitamin C, and Zinc) can help meet the challenges of staying healthy in the winter. Check your Multivitamin to see if it already offers the following:
- Vitamin D3 – usually we get most of our Vitamin D from the sun’s rays, but in the winter it becomes more challenging. Adding a Vitamin D supplement will help reduce your fatigue, depression, and unhealthy cravings. Most adults will need at least 1,000-2,000 IU/day but check with your physician to see if your needs are higher.
- Vitamin C – found naturally in fruits and vegetables, can help boost your immune system and prepare you to fight a cold or the flu. Most adults will need 65-90 mg/day.
- Zinc – can also help ward off infections. Zinc is naturally found in fish, dairy, eggs, and some cereals. Most adults will need 8-11 mg/day.
- Keep moving. Find an indoor sport or exercise class and do it with a partner so that you will stay motivated to keep going. Try increasing the amount of exercise you do by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking and talking instead of emailing a nearby co-worker.
If you have any further Nutrition questions or concerns or if you need to schedule an appointment, please contact our Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Sharon Lewis-Hackler, MS, RDN, LDN, CDCES at 252-364-2806 or www.kptonline.com