It can be tricky to maintain a healthy, balanced diet in winter. The cold, dark days often lead us to temptation as we find comfort tucking into another cheese board or sipping hot chocolate. As much as we love to treat ourselves during the festive period, we should still aim to consume everything in moderation. Here are some tips on how to eat healthily this winter.
Squeeze Extra Veg into Your Meals
Try to squeeze as many vegetables into your meals as possible. A study at Imperial College London found that although five portions of fruit and vegetables is good, ten portions is even better and was associated with “a 24% reduced risk of heart disease, a 33% reduced risk of stroke, a 28% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, a 13% reduced risk of total cancer, and a 31% reduction in premature deaths”. With that in mind, why would you not want to up your fruit and veg?!
Try to incorporate extras portions into your meals. Why not try adding root vegetables like carrots or turnips to your mashed potato? Or blitz up green veggies and put them in your breakfast smoothie or into soup? There are loads of ways to sneak them into any meal, so get creative!
Choose Healthy Alternatives
Wherever possible, try to switch to healthy alternatives. It is super easy and will make a big difference to your health and wellbeing. They don’t have to be massive changes, simply swapping whole milk for semi-skimmed or skimmed will reduce your fat intake each day.
It’s also worth swapping out high GI foods such as white bread, white rice and white pasta for wholemeal options with a lower GI. High GI foods cause a rapid spike in blood glucose levels as they are broken down quickly by the body. This makes you feel hungry much quicker and gives you post-food energy crashes. Instead, go for wholemeal options which are healthier and will keep you fuller for longer. Win, win!
Grow Your Own Fruit and Veg
In the mission to lead healthier lifestyles, more and more people are growing their own fruit and vegetables. Some have the benefit of a local allotment which they can pop to in their spare time, but more and more of us are using our own outside space. If you are keen on the idea of being more self-sufficient by growing your own veggies, opt for a good quality polytunnel or greenhouse that will protect your plants. Not only will you be super satisfied that you’ve succeeded in growing your own produce, your veg will also be much more nutritious as it will be free from chemicals.
There are lots of ways to stay healthy this winter. As they say, we are what we eat, and a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. Don’t feel too guilty for tucking into a festive mince pie though – everything in moderation!