There’s nothing like a winter’s day to derail weight loss efforts.
Cold weather can disrupt your workout routine and make you more likely to reach for high carbohydrate and high-fat foods- Meat pie and chips, anyone? You’re also less likely to consume water and instead opt for a hot, caffeinated beverage like coffee or tea or imbibe mulled wine or another warming alcoholic drink.
The good news is there are steps you can take to avoid winter weight gain. Here are our top tips for weight loss and weight maintenance this season:
Eat the Seasons
The biggest piece of advice I give people is to buy fruit and vegetables in season when they are cheaper and at their peak nutritionally. Winter vegetables include sweet potatoes and kale. Choose a mixture of colours and add to warm soups and casseroles.
Citrus fruits are also in season during this time of year and are high in vitamin C and great for the immune system. Oranges, mandarins and kiwifruit are extremely tasty and are great as snacks.
Legumes and lentils are valuable sources of fibre, B vitamins and minerals. They are affordable, extremely versatile and are a great way to bulk up soups, one pot meals and pasta sauces.
Roll With the Oats
Porridge is by far the best winter warming breakfast. It’s high in fibre, low GI and low fat and gives hours of energy throughout the day. Porridge is best made with water or low fat milk and also helps keep you regular, which is essential.
Eggs are packed full with nutrients and are the most convenient protein food. Eggs can easily be turned into a quick and healthy winter meal, such as shakshuka eggs (see recipe below), quiches, frittatas or omelettes.
The Heart Foundation recommends eating up to six eggs a week within a healthy, balanced diet – So make the most of this excellent protein source.
Go With the Grain
Ancient grains such as barley, buckwheat, chia, quinoa and wild rice are great options for those on a on a gluten free or wheat free diet. They have a great chewy texture and are very nutritionally beneficial. Ancient grains are less refined, high in fibre and high in protein. Some research indicates they can also lower cholesterol. Added to soups, casseroles or warm winter salads, ancient grains are a great way of getting some complex carbohydrates into your diet.
There are so many delicious herbs in season this time of year. Bay leaves, parsley, thyme, rosemary, chives, oregano…The list is endless. Fresh herbs make a great addition to soups, casseroles, slow cooked meals and marinades and are a tasty alternative to salt – Therefore lowering your sodium intake. Herbal teas are also a wonderful way to increase water consumption and are a great substitute to coffee, caffeinated tea or alcohol.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Finally, it’s best to write a meal plan and shopping list for the week ahead. This not only means that you will save money when out at the supermarket or vegetable market but will also keep you on track with healthy eating and less likely to grab takeaway foods or a quick, unhealthy option.
Shakshuka Eggs – Middle Eastern style poached eggs in spicy tomato sauce
Cooking time: 40 mins
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 long red chilli, finely chopped
- 1 large red capsicum, finely chopped
- 800 g (about 10) ripe tomatoes, chopped or 2 tins chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp ground sweet paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 8 eggs
- Chargrilled grainy crusty bread, to serve
1. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
- Add onion, garlic, chilli and capsicum, and cook, stirring, for 6 minutes or until onions are golden.
- Stir in tomatoes and spices, and cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 25 minutes or until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
- Make 8 small indentations in tomato mixture and crack an egg into each one.
- Cover and cook for a further 8 minutes or until eggs are cooked to your liking.
- Serve with bread.