10 tips for staying healthy during autumn and winter

01 Mar 2018

As the warm weather fades and the cooler months creep up on us, it’s easy to fall into bad eating habits, but follow these top 10 tips from Jessica Lowe, fitness nutritionist and director at Happy Healthy Foody, and you’ll stay healthy and lean during autumn and winter.

 

1. Eat the rainbow: My number one tip, no matter what the time of year, is to eat more colour and create meals made with a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. This is the best way to ensure you get a large variety of essential nutrients such as dietary fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, all of which help fight metabolic syndrome and chronic disease. Of course, in the cooler months they will also help fight the common cold and flu.

 

2. Select complex carbs over simple carbs: When it’s cold the first thing we often do is turn to food for comfort. If you select simple carbohydrates that are high in calories like breads, biscuits, pasta and pastry you might get a short burst of satisfaction, but it will not last long and your hungry pangs are sure to strike again. My solution is to make dishes packed with complex carbohydrates, also known as low GI carbohydrates, such as quinoa, whole grains, root vegetables and lentils. These complex carbs are tasty, give us lasting energy and fuel that slowly burns so we feel full and content longer meaning we will eat less and make healthier choices.

 

3. Spice it up: Why not add some chili and spice to your delicious, wholesome winter soups or curries. Warming ingredients not only heat us from the inside, they give our bodies plenty of nutrients that carry health benefits. For example, turmeric (one of my absolute favourites) is well-known for fighting inflammation and is a delicious addition to a pumpkin soup.

 

4. Don’t forget the fat: Eating a diet full of healthy fats can not only help us a feel fuller for longer but it can also help the absorption of vital nutrients through the small intestine. There is no point eating an extremely lean diet with heaps of fruit and vegetables without the fat because our bodies will not absorb the vitamins and minerals. Some of my suggestions are adding coconut cream to soups, nut butters to yoghurt, chai puddings and salads; and avocado to your breakfast or lunch.

 

5. Always plan: If you do not plan then plan to fail. To be successful in keeping well through the cooler months (when it’s particularly hard to jump out of bed) have a fitness schedule and meals planned each week to keep you motivated and on track. Consider your work schedule and other commitments that might get in the way and then plan your meals and exercise schedule around them.

 

6. Try new things: It always seems easier to exercise in summer because the sun is shining, days are longer, and it’s harder to hide our winter coat under our winter coats! Therefore, in the cooler months a great way to stay motivated is to try new fun indoor activities like hot yoga, dancing or even consider trying a new gym to keep you accountable. I also suggest getting creative in the kitchen by trying new things, like spicy soups (see recipe below).

 

7. Eat better not less: This is another year-round tip. Understanding how to fuel your body correctly with the right foods is paramount to being healthy. A balanced diet made with wholefoods and consisting of a good macronutrient split of 40 percent low GI complex carbohydrates, 30 percent protein and 30 percent healthy fats (general population rule) with every meal will always keep you well. You should eat three meals and two healthy snacks every day.

 

8. Don’t forget the protein: Having protein with every meal will help keep you feeling full and will assist with cell and tissue repair. This means our bodies can adapt to burning more fat and building muscle. For excellent sources of protein, I suggest eating eggs, fish, poultry, lean meat, dairy, nuts, seeds and lentils.

 

9. Stay hydrated: It is easy to forget to drink water when it’s cold, but it’s important you don’t forget to drink up! Drinking plenty of water ensures we are flushing our systems, keeping the liver and kidneys clean and free from toxins. It helps to lower visceral fat, which is the nasty stores around our vital organs. Dehydration can also create extreme hunger meaning people tend to eat instead of drinking water, which can result in weight gain and obesity. Other health benefits of drinking water include improved sleep, cognitive function and clearer skin.

 

10. Caffeine counts: It’s natural to want to reach for hot drinks full of caffeine in the cooler months. Caffeine is a stimulate that can also cause dehydration. Of course, it affects our central nervous system too helping to keep us awake and alert, and affecting our ability to sleep and relax. I suggest limiting your coffee and tea intake to only two per day. I also suggest following a coffee or tea with a drink of water to keep you hydrated.

 

JESSICA’S SPICED CARROT, PUMPKIN & COCONUT SOUP

Need inspiration to keep your healthy eating aspirations on track? Try Jessica’s spicy warming winter soup. It’s perfect as an entrée, or makes a well-rounded main with the addition of chicken for protein.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
500 grams of carrots (about 8)

300 grams of butternut pumpkin

1 cans of absolute organic coconut cream

Fresh bunch of coriander

1 brown onions

2 cloves of garlic

2 red chillis (seeds removed for less heat)

2 tablespoons of turmeric

1 tablespoon of ground cumin

½ a cup of organic old pressed coconut oil

 

Method:

  1. Chop half of the carrots into discs.
  2. Chop the pumpkin into chunks.
  3. Place the pumpkin and chopped carrots into a pot and just cover with water.
  4. Peel the garlic cloves- crush the cloves and chop finely. Add the chopped garlic to the pot.
  5. Bring the pot to boil and drop to a simmer. While happens you use your time to grate all the other carrots.
  6. Dice up the onions
  7. In a fry pan bring it to a med-high heat and melt down the coconut oil. When the oil is hot brown of the onion.
  8. Fry up the grated carrot with the onion- when both the onion and carrot is brown- push it to the sides and place the turmeric and cumin powder in the centre, then mix it through working from the sides to the middle. Drop to a low heat and add the coconut cream. Allow this to simmer.
  9. Check the pot of carrots and pumpkin. If tender and soft it is time to blend it to a smooth consistently using a blend stick or food processor. You do not need to drain the water.
  10. Once the carrots and blended smooth in the pot you can add the spiced carrot & coconut mix from the fry pan to the pot and keep simmering it away, so the flavours infuse.
  11. Separate the coriander and finely chop half of the bunch using the leaves and the green part of the steams. Then add it to the pot.
  12. Chop the red chillis and add that to the pot.
  13. Taste test…. Does it need any cracked pink seas salt or pepper? If yes add some now.
  14. Separate the remaining coriander leaves to use as a garnish.
  15. Serve with coriander on top.

 

About Jessica Lowe

Jessica Lowe, director of Happy Healthy Foody, is a qualified Fitness Nutritionist who has helped hundreds of people reach their body composition goals by eating a healthy and balanced diet. In 2015 Jessica completed both Fitness and Nutrition studies with the Australian Institute of Personal Trainers. She is extremely passionate about food and her style of eating promotes better and more consistent energy levels by fuelling people with the right foods that establish a consistent release of the insulin hormone, preventing and improving insulin resistance. To speak to Jessica about your health, fitness and nutrition goals, contact her on Facebook (Happy Healthy Foody & Nutrition by Jessica Lowe), Instagram (@jessica_lowe_coaching) or at happyhealthyfoody.com.au