The colder months of the year can be a difficult time for those of us trying to stay healthy. We tend to spend more time indoors, we get sick more frequently, and thanks to the holidays we have higher stress levels and are more likely to overeat! However, there are many ways that we can overcome the winter blues and stay on track! Here are a few of my favourites.
While it is perfectly OK to have a treat once in a while, it can be easy to get derailed with the amount of treats involved during the winter (especially December!). One way to avoid this is to make your own healthy treats to keep you safe from temptation. One of my recipes I recommend is my Pumpkin Pudding. If you love chocolate, try my Bullet-Proof Mint Hot Chocolate recipe. If you are watching your sugar or carbohydrate intake you could make either of these recipes using stevia extract drops as a substitute for the other sweeteners. I prefer to half the sugar and use the equivalent (a few drops) of stevia in place of the rest.
2. Eat in Season
During the winter starchy vegetables such as root vegetables and squash are in season. It is completely normal to not want to eat as many raw vegetables such as salads during the winter as they are not in season and would not have been available to us traditionally. However, we can still include many cooked and in season vegetables in our diet during the winter. Eating soup is a great way to do this. My Vegetable Curry Butternut Squash Soup is one of my winter favourites!
Different parts of the world will have different fruits and vegetables in season at different times of the year, so I recommend you find a guide for your area. Here is a guide for Canada, and one for the US organized by state.
3. Participate in Winter Activities or Embrace the Gym
There are many fun winter activities that will keep you moving throughout the winter such as snow shoeing, cross country skiing, or skating. However, these activities are not always possible due to weather, less daylight, and temperature changes. Some winter activities such as downhill skiing can be quite expensive and require specific equipment as well.
Maybe you just aren’t the type who enjoys winter activities? There are other options! My personal favourite indoor winter activity is hot yoga, but there are many different exercise classes you can take at your local gym or fitness centre such as spin classes, pilates, and aerobics.
Don’t want to leave your house at all? There are options for you too! YouTube has tons of free work out videos. Some of my favourites are Blogilates pilates work out videos, but you can search for any type of work out you want as well!
4. Get Lots of Sleep
Our ancestors slept more in the winter as the days were shorter and they didn’t have the artificial light (blue wavelength) that we use now. The sleep requirements for each person is different, so I would recommend trying to include an extra 1-2 hours to the amount of sleep you would usually get in the summer. Although it gets dark earlier, light sources such as alarm clocks, electronics, and street lights can lower the quality of your sleep (source). To get your best quality sleep make sure your room is pitch black. You can achieve this by using Blackout Curtains to block out any outside light, and unplugging any unnecessary electronics. You can also use a Sunshine Alarm Clock which wakes you up with a gradual increase in light (simulating a sunrise); this will wake you up more gently and naturally. Sunshine alarm clocks are especially helpful to those of us that have a difficult time getting out of bed in the morning (do you hit the snooze button a lot?).
Thank you for reading! I hope these tips help you stay on track this winter season! You can subscribe to Nutrition is Medicine below, like the Facebook page, or follow me on google+ to keep up to date with all my articles!
What do you do to keep yourself on track during the winter?