Winter can be a challenging time both with maintaining a healthy diet and staying active. We mostly associate staying warm with cosy blankets, warm clothes, fireplaces, hot beverages and comfort food.

When it comes to dietary choices, are unhealthy temptation foods and lack of willpower your weakness?  Our food choices as well as our reason for eating (when we eat) is key.

Food should be for nourishment and energy, and Winter can be especially challenging as we are try to fuel our body and stay warm. We need to ask ourselves – Am I really hungry?

Physical Hunger

  • Comes on gradually as you near you normal meal or snack time
  • Alleviated by eating foods that keep our blood sugar balanced
  • Once your’e full you can stop eating
  • Results in satisfaction, not guilt

Emotional Hunger 

  • Comes on suddenly and feels urgent
  • Hunger for specific foods – pizza, chocolate…
  • Eat more than you normally would and feel uncomfortably full.
  • Hunger not satisfied and leaves you feeling guilty.

Comfort food culprits

Soup: homemade is best; avoid creamy soups (use plain yoghurt or coconut milk); avoid filling up with bread – lentils, noodles, pearl barley.. are good options for bulking up your soup.

Chips: lightly salted are the healthiest. Alternatively, homemade popcorn lightly seasoned or plain nacho chips.

Chocolate: preferably dark chocolate (70% and higher) and small slabs or limit to 2 pieces

Cake: homemade is best. Try adding nuts for a nice crunch; Use unrefined stone ground flours (coconut flour also a great option); use less sugar than recipe calls for an try sweeten more naturally; cocoa gives a good chocolate flavour; cupcakes instead of one big cake makes for easier portion control; p.s Remember you can freeze cake to eat another day

Pasta dishes: Wholewheat or wheat free pasta are best; Homemade sauces are also best – avoid creamy sauces; tomato based sauces and pesto are good options

Hot chocolate & coffee: Make these an occasional treat and rather have rooibos tea or herbal teas to warm you up.

Practice self-control thought phrases or mantras – “I don’t want or need that”; I’m not really hungry, so I don’t need this”

Practice moderation and portion control. Stop eating when you’re nearly full. Share portions of less healthy food choices (like that slice of chocolate cake)

These are just a few examples. If you need advice on making better Winter comfort food choices, you are welcome to contact me

Distractions are also a great way to avoid eating comfort foods. Paint your nails, do something creative like art, sewing, journaling, listen to music.

And not to forget physical activity – we are blessed to still have days where the sun shines. Get out there and take a walk, jog, run; walk the dogs. Too cold or rainy? Why not take up online pilates or yoga classes

Stay warm & healthy.

Yours in good health

Fiona/ Into Nutrition