Fuelling for Cold Weather
The season of winter is notorious for heavy, creamy, filling types of food. They’re meant to keep you warm and protect you from the harsh cold, in winter, your metabolism is slower and the harsh weather tends to interrupt a fitness regimen, making it easier for those pounds to pile up. Here are tips on how to stay healthy without putting on the weight during winter.
The food and physical activity choices you make every day affect your health – how you feel today, tomorrow, and in the future. You may be eating plenty of food trying to stay warm, but not eating the right foods that give your body the nutrients you need to be healthy. Because it is cold, you may not be getting enough physical activity to stay fit and burn those extra calories. Eating right and being physically active aren’t just a ‘diet’ or a ‘program’ – they are essential elements of a healthy life style and are extremely important over the winter months. The best way to fuel your body this winter is by eating a variety of nutrient-packed foods every day.
A healthy eating plan is one that:
• Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products.
• Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
• Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.
The cold makes it harder to stick to healthy eating habits. It’s important to make smart food choices and watch portion sizes wherever you are – at the grocery store, at work, in your favourite restaurant, or running errands.
Try these tips:
• At the store, plan ahead by buying a variety of nutrient-rich foods for meals and snacks throughout the week.
• When grabbing lunch, have a sandwich on whole-grain bread and choose low-fat/fat-free milk, water, or other drinks without added sugars.
• In a restaurant, opt for steamed, grilled, or broiled dishes instead of those that are fried or sautéed.
• On a long commute or shopping trip, pack some fresh fruit, cut-up vegetables, string cheese sticks, or a handful of unsalted nuts – to help you avoid impulsive, less healthful snack choices.
Essential Tips to stay healthy this winter
1 Mix up your choices within each food group:
✓ Focus on fruits. Eat a variety of fruits – whether fresh, frozen or canned – rather than fruit juice.Aim for 2 cups of fruit each day for example, 1 small banana and 1 large orange.
✓ Vary your veggies. Eat more dark green veggies, such as broccoli, and other dark leafy greens; orange veggies, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, as well as beans and peas.
✓ Eat calcium-rich foods. Get 2 cups of low-fat or fat-free milk – or an equivalent amount of low-fat yogurt and/or low-fat cheese (40g of cheese equals 1 cup of milk) – every day. If you don’t or can’t consume milk, choose lactose-free milk products.
✓ Make half your grains whole. Eat at least two servings of whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta every day. One serving is about 1 slice of bread,
1 cup of breakfast cereal, or 1⁄2 cup of cooked rice or pasta. Choose whole grains as often as possible.
✓ Go lean with protein. Choose lean meats and poultry and increase your intake of fish, beans, lentils and seeds.
2 Know what you are eating:
✓ Aim for low saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, and sodium.
✓ Food should be high in potassium, fibre, vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron to help keep your immune system strong over winter.
✓ Use the % Daily Value (DV) column when possible: 5% Daily Value or less is low, 20% Daily Value or more is high (avoid these foods). Check servings and calories. Look at the serving size and how many servings you are actually consuming. If you double the servings you eat, you double the calories and nutrients, including the % Daily Values.
✓ Make your calories count. Look at the calories on the label and compare them with what nutrients you are also getting to decide whether the food is worth eating.
✓ Don’t sugar-coat it. Since sugars contribute calories with few, if any, nutrients, look for foods and beverages low in added sugars. Read the ingredient list and make sure that added sugars are not one of the first few ingredients. Some names for added sugars (caloric sweeteners) include sucrose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, and fructose.
✓ Know your fats. Look for foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol to help reduce the risk of heart disease. Most of the fats you eat should be polyunsaturated and mono-unsaturated fats.
✓ Reduce sodium (salt), increase potassium. Research shows that eating less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium (about 1 tsp of salt) per day may reduce the risk of high blood pressure. Most of the sodium people eat comes from processed foods, not from the salt shaker. Also look for foods high in potassium, which counteracts some of the sodium’s effects on blood pressure.
3 Maintain physical activity over the course of winter.
✓ Physical activity is important for your overall health and fitness. It also helps you control body weight by balancing the calories you take in as food with the calories you expend each day.
✓ Be physically active for at least 30 minutes most days of the week for general well-being.
✓ Increasing the intensity or the amount of time that you are physically active will have greater health benefits and will help control body weight. About 60 minutes a day may be needed to lose weight.
✓ Children and teenagers should be physically active for about 60 minutes every day.