WINTER NUTRITION

Winter and comfort food go hand in hand, but we don’t really associate warm, comfort food with being healthy. So this winter why not set the goal of making comfort foods that are nutrient dense and good for you? This way, you won’t come out the other side of winter wishing you had eaten better, you will hit spring on track and ready to progress to the next level!

1. Make nutrient-dense comfort foods

Aim for foods and meals that include plenty of veggies, with lean protein and a source of complex carbohydrates for slow released energy.

Good options include:

  • Hearty vegetable soups and stews

  • • Replacing simple, processed carbs with vegetables e.g. grated cauliflower instead of white rice, thinly zucchini spirals (zoodles) instead of pasta

  • • Green tea with lemon instead of hot chocolate with full fat milk or cream

What to avoid over consuming: rich, creamy sauces, mashed potato (when made with butter and cream), deep fried foods, puddings and desserts that are sugar based.

2. Plan to Succeed

Bad weather can lower your motivation to eat healthily, and that means you are more likely to make poor nutritional decisions when you are tired or hungry. For example, after a cold and uncomfortable commute home from work, you may not have the willpower to spend 30 minutes cooking something healthy to eat and may just opt for takeaway instead.

For this reason, you should make sure you have a meal plan. This means the decision to eat healthily is already made, and you’ll be less likely to eat foods that don’t support your goals and lifestyle. If possible, prep your meals in advance to make it even easier to stick to your healthy eating plan. To see which of my customisable meal plans would suit you best, click here.

3. Effortless Slow Cooked Healthy Meals

With a slow cooker, you just toss in a bunch of ingredients in the morning, put the lid on and set it to “low”, and then leave it to work its magic for the next 6-8 hours. When you get home, a freshly cooked, delicious and healthy meal will be waiting for you.

You don’t even need to follow complicated recipes. All you need is:

  • • A variety of vegetables – frozen veg works fine

  • • Some meat, poultry, or fish

  • • A few cups of stock

  • • Seasoning

  • • Whole grains (optional)

That’s it – just put your preferred mixture of ingredients into your slow cooker and leave it. Wintertime healthy eating has never been so easy.

4. Avoid drinking your calories

Chillier months mean more hot drinks. Hot chocolate and coffee-based drinks are warming and comforting. However, they can be high in empty calories, meaning they don’t make us feel full or provide much in terms of nutrients. If in doubt, skip the flavoured syrups and whipped cream beverages and stick with plain beverages such as black coffee or green tea. Ironically, not only are these drinks virtually calorie-free, they may even speed up fat loss.

Here is my go-to alternative to hot chocolate, for those chilly nights in when you’re snuggled up on the couch:

Almond or skim milk with cacao powder, cinnamon, vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp. of honey.

Good, healthful nutrition is just one component required to have a productive winter. Strategically approaching your training and mindset throughout the colder months will also help keep you on track. If you missed it, check out my Winter Mindset blog, and keep your eyes peeled for the next article in my winter series on Winter Training.

 


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