(NC) As temperatures drop, appetites sneak up. In the winter, poor health choices are more common for everyone. From a lack of vitamin D to a decrease in body temperature, many factors affect the foods that our bodies crave. For advice on how to stay on track with your diet and exercise routine, try following a few of the nutrition tips below.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Since you’re not sweating as much at this time of year, staying hydrated may often slip your mind. However, the winter months are much cooler and dryer. Since our bodies are 70 per cent water, regardless of the time of year, we require hydration. When we’re hydrated, our appetites are more controlled, but when we’re not, we often mistake thirst for hunger. Daily water intake depends on many factors, but on average, 15.5 cups of fluids daily are recommended for men, and 11.5 cups daily are recommended for women.
Make protein your friend. With colder temperatures, comfort foods seem increasingly appetizing. Warm foods rich in carbohydrates and sugars are typically preferred for a quick pick-me-up. However, protein satisfies your appetite and keeps you full longer, suppressing cravings of warm, creamy pastas and greasy pizzas.
Stick to fresh produce. Many of your favourite fruits may not taste as delicious in the off-season, which makes it easier opt for processed sugars. Clementines, pears, kiwis and dates are all fruits that can be grown during the winter season of warmer climates. Thanks to innovations in greenhouse farming, local strawberries, tomatoes and cucumbers are also available year-round and are a natural source of sugar as well as much better for you than a chocolate bar.
Hibernating is for bears. Since you’re likely using more carbs to heat your body, it’s especially important to maintain regular physical activity. Bracing the cold may be daunting, but outdoor activities can be fun. Skiing, skating and sledding are all great ways to exercise that don’t even feel like cardio. Aim for at least 20 minutes of activity a day.
Heat smart. With the cold weather comes the inclination to consume things that warm you up, like hot chocolate, eggnog or pumpkin-spice everything – most of which are high in sugar. Instead, a bowl of soup, chili or stew will warm you up, fill you up and provide you with extra veggies, beans, legumes and other proteins.