Winter weight gain… the bane of our lives!
There are many contributing factors to why we tend to gain weight in the cooler months of the year such as lack of exercise due to the cold, increased consumption of calorie-dense comfort foods as well as the body’s change in hormone levels related to the darker, cooler weather.
Here are some tips to stay in shape this winter:
Rethink your drink
In winter we tend to drink a lot more hot beverages such as hot chocolate, cappuccinos, and latte’s which are often calorie loaded with full cream milk, cream, sugar and syrups.
To cut back on calories, enjoy these drinks in moderation, opt for a skinny option and reduce the amount of sugar added to all hot drinks.
If you are battling to get your water intake in winter try black rooibos or herbal tea with a slice of lemon or warm water with lemon and fresh ginger as a great way to increase your fluid intake without adding caffeine and extra calories to your day.
The winter month’s often result in less motivation to get moving because of the cold.
Switch your exercise routine up to go for a walk in the late afternoon when it is warmer or get your daily step count in your lunch break if you are currently working from home. This is a great way to get that much-needed vitamin D from the sun that we always hear about.
With the pandemic, a lot of fitness experts have gone virtual so join an online class to get moving from the comfort of your own home.
Soups are a great way to increase your veggie intake in winter when we tend to eat less of the cold salads. Try and make home-made soups so that you have control of the salt content and of what you put inside. Add some healthy proteins such as lentils, beans, chickpeas, and lean chicken or beef for example
If you are watching your weight limit cream-based soups as well as added croutons. A balanced meal can include a slice of wholegrain bread with your vegetable soup.
Be mindful about your eating
A lot of people have lost their basic physiological connection to hunger, satiety and eating. Try and re-connect with your body and recognise symptoms of hunger, acknowledge when you feel full and be conscious of when we are eating purely out of comfort, driven by emotions, rather than actual hunger.
Home is where the heart is
Home is also where the healthier food is. Enjoy home-cooked foods 90% of the time as they are healthier than fast food alternatives and you have more control over the portion size and ingredients used.
Fill up on whole foods
It is still important to focus on eating whole foods that contain fibre and keep us fuller for longer such as whole grains (bulger wheat, couscous, quinoa, whole grain bread, whole wheat pasta, brown rice)
Avoid simple and refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white pasta, sweets, pastries – these are low fibre, high calorie foods that do not keep us very full and we tend to then eat more to feel satisfied.
Spice up your morning oats
Cooked oats are a great warm breakfast that is high in fibre and a good start to the day. Spice up your oats by adding cinnamon and grated apple or if you are a fan of carrot cake flavours add grated carrot, raisins, cinnamon, turmeric and ground ginger.
Switch up your puds
Instead of the comforting hot, sugar-dense winter puddings we all love rather try and include healthier warm desserts that contain fruit such as a baked apple, poached pear OR cooked banana with some plain yoghurt and healthy unsalted nuts.
Prep in advance
To avoid reaching for comfort foods make sure you have planned your healthy meals and snacks ahead of time. Cook in bulk so that there are healthy leftovers available for lunches and dinners when you are stressed or swamped with work.
If you are still needing some extra support, motivation or a calorie specific personalised meal plan contact a registered dietitian to help you on your weight-loss journey.
Winter warmer recipes
- 1tbs cocoa powder
- 125ml low-fat milk
- 125ml hot water
- Sprinkle of cinnamon
- 1 sachet sweetener or 1tsp honey, optional
- Mix cocoa powder with a little water to make into a paste
- Add boiling water, milk and stir
- Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and honey/sweetener if needed
Roast red pepper and tomato soup
Makes approximately 1 litre
- 1kg roma tomatoes
- 4 red peppers
- 5 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbs dried basil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped
- 2tbs balsamic vinegar
- 2tsp brown sugar
- 1tbs flour
- 1L vegetable stock
- Fresh parsley/basil to serve
- Rye/whole grain bread, optional
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- To peel the tomatoes cut a cross at each end and plunge into boiling water. Peel and cut into quarters.
- Slice the red peppers in quarters, remove the seeds and stems and flatten them.
- Place the tomatoes and peppers cut side up on a baking tray together with the whole cloves of garlic.
- Sprinkle basil, salt, pepper and drizzle olive oil over the peppers and tomatoes.
- Roast for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a pot with oil, cook the onion and chilli for about 10 minutes.
- Remove the tomatoes from the oven and chop them roughly.
- Squeeze the garlic from the skin and add to the onion mix.
- Add the tomatoes and peppers to the pot with the vinegar and sugar.
- Stir in the flour and cook for a short while.
- Add the stock and bring to the boil for 5 minutes.
- Adjust seasoning.
- Blend in a blender until smooth/desired consistency. Be cautious of the hot liquid when blending.
- Served with fresh basil/parsley and wholegrain toast if desired.
About Kelly Ansley
Kelly is a registered dietitian in private practice. She gained valuable experience in the government and private sector before starting her own practice, Smart Eating, in 2015. She is currently a guest lecturer to the third-year dietetics students at the University of Pretoria and consults from practices in Houghton and Fourways and Morningside Mediclinic.
Since becoming a mom in 2019, Kelly feels passionate about educating and informing other moms on nutrition-related topics and empowering them to provide a healthy balanced diet for the whole family. Kelly understands the stress and pressure that come with being a working mom and she supports her clients and assists them to achieve sustainable health goals. In her private capacity, Kelly enjoys baking, travelling and spending time with family and friends.