Finally spring has sprung and the warmer weather is on its way! The time has come to say goodbye to all those winter comfort foods and say hello to the fresher, lighter side of life!
We all start to hibernate a bit in winter and incorporate wonderful warm foods such as porridges, hearty soups, stews, pastas and delicious desserts. The problem is that because these foods make you feel so good you start increasing portion sizes and before you know it waistlines too! The minute the sun shines again, you start worrying about having to wear skimpy summer outfits and bare your skin to the world!
It’s time to lighten the diet up, to make you feel as fresh and lovely as summer itself! How do you do this? Where do you start? Let’s take a look at what habits changed during winter and what you can do to change them back to find that healthier happier you.
Fresh fruit and salads
Did you manage to eat fruit over the winter months? Or are winter fruit too boring and cold for you? Maybe you swapped to dried fruit, but did you remember to keep your portions small? Salads also seem to dwindle in the winter months, and though you may have kept up with cooked veggies, did you manage to incorporate the less starchy, green veggies?
It’s time to stock up on fresh fruit and veggies again! As the weather warms you will want to eat lighter and eat less. Salads are delicious for lunch, but remember to add some protein, carbs (nice carbs to add are chick-peas, mealies or butternut) and fat so that the meal sustains you and you are not starving by supper! Smoothies are also a fantastic way to get in more fruit and veg. Make them the night before if you are tight on time in the morning, or pick up a special superfruit smoothie from Happy.Me on your way out of the club. See the Simple Green Smoothie recipe below for a delicious, nutritious drink.
Yoghurt is so cold and not so popular in winter! It is however a fantastic snack, and contains much needed probiotics that help your stomach function well. Try to snack on yoghurt (you can add some fruit, nuts, honey) rather than the toast or baked goods that have crept in. Choose the lower fat and sugar-free varieties.
Let’s face it you don’t sweat much in winter so you don’t get very thirsty. You have most likely had your fair share of fluid through coffees, lattes and hot chocolates instead! Though warmer fluids are much more comforting in winter, these choices are adding in extra calories. Try to get that water jug back onto your desk. Add in some lemon, mint, berries, orange or cucumber to the water to flavour it lightly. Water is crucial for the body to function optimally – the body needs it to digest, absorb and transport nutrients, to eliminate waste as well as to boost the metabolism.
Portion sizes creep up so easily, especially when you need comfort during the colder months. This is one of the biggest reasons for weight gain – that, plus the fact that many people don’t exercise as often during these months. It’s time for a reality check! Get out those measuring cups again and make sure that the starch portions are not more than ½ to 1 cup and that the protein portions are not more than your palm size. This is especially important for your supper meal. If you want to eat more, add some extra non-starchy, green veggies to your meal – these veggies add bulk without adding much energy.
Changing your eating plan can be daunting, but if you focus on only adjusting a few things at a time, it may just be possible! Combine this with regular visits to your favourite GO Health classes and before you know it you will be feeling fantastic.
The Simple Green Smoothie
- 1½ cups water
- 1 head romaine lettuce
- ½ of a large bunch of spinach
- 3–4 celery stalks
- 1 apple
- 1 pear
- 1 banana
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- Optional – 1/3 of a bunch of parsley (stems too)
- Add the water and chopped head of lettuce and spinach to the blender. Blend until smooth
- Add the celery, apple and pear, then the parsley if you choose
- Add the banana and lemon juice last