Written by: Jamie Lyons (Ingalls Falls Dietetic Intern)

With the winter season approaching, our food preferences might start to change. You may begin to crave hearty, comforting meals that warm your body from the inside out. The winter months are packed with holidays, family get-togethers, and events centered around food, which may make it seem impossible to stay on track with your health and fitness goals. People also tend to want to stay inside during the winter months to protect themselves from the cold, which can limit the availability and amount of physical activity that they do. In this article, we will go over three important tips and tricks to help you stay healthy during the winter months!

Become aware of what fruits and vegetables are in season!

The winter months are full of amazing tasting fruits and vegetables, use these to your advantage when making your family dinner! Some foods that are in season for the winter months include apples, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower. Here are some ways to incorporate these foods into your dishes for the winter months.

  • Try making Common Threads’ sautéed apples recipe for your next dessert! It is a healthier, lower fat, and lower carb option to apple pie, but it tastes just as delicious. 
  • Brussels sprouts have recently become more popular and there are so many ways to make them. Swap out green bean casserole for some roasted brussel sprouts at Thanksgiving. They are high in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants and are the perfect crunchy, salty addition to your Thanksgiving feast. 
  • Cauliflower has also become all the rage in the last couple of years because it is so versatile and can be easily transformed into a variety of dishes. Mixing equal parts of mashed potatoes and mashed cauliflower together is a great way to increase your fiber intake, add more vitamin C and K into your diet, and hide the taste of vegetables from your kids (they will never know!). 
Stay Active!

The cold winter months can make you want to stay under your blanket all cozied up on the couch for the season. If the thought of leaving the house to go to the gym or go on a walk seems unimaginable during this time, try these activities instead. 

  • Go to the mall! Indoor malls are a great place to get your steps in if you want to avoid the cold outside or want to deviate from a treadmill. This can also give you a jumpstart on holiday shopping while exercising to kill two birds with one stone.  
  • Do some winter cleaning – don’t wait for the spring. Cleaning your house is a great way to get some moderate physical exercise in. Doing 30 minutes of vacuuming, mopping, cleaning dishes, or making beds will get you on your feet burning some calories and your house will thank you for it, too.  
Don’t feel guilty about what you have eaten.

The winter months can be a time of over-indulgence and over-eating for everybody. Eating patterns are bound to change a bit, it is important to enjoy this time with your friends and family and allow yourself to have those special “once-in-a-while” cultural holiday foods. 

  • Focus on addition and not restriction. If you know that you are going to have a piece of pie or cake after dinner, make an attempt to add a vegetable or fruit onto your dinner plate so that you are still getting in some vitamins and nutrients.  
  • It is all about finding balance! Balancing what you are eating by incorporating some nutritional food items when you can and finding ways to add in physical exercise will really help! Remember, one day of eating foods that are outside of your norm should not deter you from achieving your health goals.

Are you feeling more confident about winter coming now? I challenge you all to incorporate these tips into your routine this winter. Before we know it, the snow will be melting and the sun will be shining.