During winter, you do not need to eat more in quantity or eat more calorie dense food.
But if you want to avoid viruses and infections and also keep feeling good and energetic when it’s dark and cold outside, you may need to focus on specific food that can support your health over the winter season.
1. BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Avoid colds and stomach bugs by strengthening your immune system. Make sure that you get enough useful vitamins and minerals:
The most natural way to get Vitamin D is sun exposure for 15–30 minutes a day.
In addition, you can add to your diet vitamin D rich foods such as: oily fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout, tuna) fish oil, red meat, beef liver (if you like it), egg yolks, etc.
You do not need Vitamin C supplement unless you have a cold or a prescription from your GP. Fill your grocery basket with citrus (orange, grapefruit, clementine), belly peppers, kiwi, red berries (frozen is perfectly fine), tomatoes, broccolis, squash.
Zinc, magnesium and iron are also very important to support a healthy immune system: mushrooms, shellfish (zinc), lentils, beans, red meat (iron), spinach, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate 85% (magnesium).
Gut health is one of your best allies as it contains billions of bacteria that produce anti-bodies to fight infections.
Fermented food will do wonders: kefir yogurt, sauerkraut, olives, blue cheese, kimchi, etc – as well as fibre rich food: pulses, broccoli, raspberries, apples, avocado, artichokes, beets, rolled oats (not ready to eat porridge!!), popcorn (salted is better than sweet for your waistline J), etc
2. EAT A COLORFUL AND VARIED DIET
When we feel cold and tired, we tend to turn into food to get warmer and lift up both our mood and energy levels. The “raclette” and the waffle with Nutella and Chantilly may not be the best options! Try not to consume too many sugar-rich and high-fat food:
Keep eating varied, balanced, healthy meals so you don’t overload your digestive system while your body needs to focus its energy to keep your body warm and functioning.
If you feel cold, a good option is to have hot drinks throughout the day (tea, herbal tea) and enjoy a home-made soup or broth.
Alcohol is definitely not the best strategy to keep your body warm: the warmth feeling is very temporary, and alcohol is very dehydrating beyond impacting your health, concentration, and mood.
Stay hydrated: 1.5/2l of water per day to stay well hydrated as you spend more time in dry and heated rooms.
Try to get out of your apartment to get some fresh air, enjoy a nice family walk, and keep exercising gently, it’s excellent for your overall wellbeing and mood!
3. SLEEP, REST AND RELAX
Stress and fatigue can weaken your immune system and lead to more regular colds and infections. On the top of that, stress and sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain.
Food is not the answer to stress and fatigue. You need to rest and relax, not to eat food! Food will just be extra calories as your body does not require energy, what your body requires is a break or a nap or a distraction
So try instead to take a moment for you, breathe, sit comfortably, close your eyes for 10/15 minutes. Or read, watch TV, play with your kids, exercise gently, etc because crisps or cookies are unhelpful when it comes to tiredness and when you need to let the steam off!
Answering your real needs is the best way to avoid using food for comfort hence avoid weigh gain.
And don’t forget: get a good night sleep, 7/8 hrs per night is ideal.
Candy Duval is a French Nutrition Coach based in London. She is a qualified Nutrition Adviser, with a diploma certified by the UK Association for Nutrition and offers nutrition guidance and successful strategies to help loose weight and achieve a fulfilling lifestyle.
FOCUS has partnered with Slim with Candy to offer all FOCUS Members a 30 min free nutrition consultation. And every Member signing up for a 5 month coaching plan will receive an additional 30 min free session on the top of the 5 paid sessions.