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8 easy-to-follow Wellness Tips to Weather the Winter

To enjoy a healthful, high-energy winter, food choices should be planned so that they become part of a healthy lifestyle. The LIFESTYLE approach ensures “Magic Bullet” products and quick fixes do not endure.

Winter is upon us!

As the sun makes way for shorter days, the cold air discourages even the most stoic of healthy-living acolyte to keep form.

The temperature outside continues to drop and it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain a healthy diet. Curling up on the couch with a creamy soup, comforting hot chocolate and addictive rusks may seem inviting, but it’s important to keep the body well-nourished during the winter to prevent weight gain and ward off pesky germs.

We are all in this together, so we asked our local dietitians from Winelands Dietitians, Ancois Botha and Jackie Foot, for some pointers. They gave us eight easy-to-follow lifestyle tips to cultivate a winter-wellness awareness that boosts the immune system, keeps your energy up and, most importantly, keeps the pounds down.

Here we go!

8 tips for a sustainable Winter-Wellness lifestyle

  1. Eat Plenty of Fruit & Vegetables

Enjoy in season fruit and vegetables as citrus fruits (oranges and naartjies), broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, kale, leeks, mushrooms, potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, apples, avocado, bananas and guavas. These are cost effective and have lots of taste at this time of year!

  1. Yummy Soup

Soup mixes are abundant at this time of year. With lots of vegetables, some beans or lentils and maybe some meat, soup is the perfect food to get in your 5 a day!

  1. Be aware of your portion sizes

When indoors, it is very tempting to stroll to the cupboard and choose less healthy snacks. To ensure you control your portions, try to eat your meals at the table with the family, turn off the TV, use smaller plates, and reserve half your dinner plate for vegetables.

  1. Drink water!

Ensure you are drinking sufficient water. Aim for 20ml/kg body weight.

  1. Don’t forget your vitamin D

In winter time we don’t get as much time in the sun. In this case food becomes the most important source of vitamin D. Fatty fish (like salmon and sardines) and egg yolks are good sources of vitamin D and there is also vitamin D fortified milks and yoghurt available.

  1. Choose Low GI Carbohydrates

Another disadvantage to less exposure to sun is the drop in our serotonin that results. Serotonin is our “happy hormone”, so as our mood decreases, you may be tempted with food cravings. Serotonin can be increased with whole grains and high-quality carbs such as sweet potatoes, pumpkins, butternut and lentils.

  1. Boost your Immunity

While nothing can completely stop a cold in its tracks, a healthy immune system can help ward off the germs that cause colds and the flu. This ensures that cold doesn’t stick around for too long! Studies have shown that 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C supplements may make colds milder and even shorten them by half a day!

  1. Keep active

An indoor sport or exercise class is ideal to achieve your 150min exercise a week. Arrange to meet a friend so that you feel more obliged to participate. Increasing the amount of incidental exercise you do by taking the stairs instead of the lift or walk and talk instead of emailing a nearby colleague.

Remember this is a lifestyle!

Despite the chilly weather, by taking note of Jackie and Ancois’ tips, healthier choices can be made. Remember, this is a LIFESTYLE, so occasional indulgence is encouraged to avoid feelings of deprivation!

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact Ancois (ancois@winelandsdietitians.co.za) or Jackie (jackie@winelandsdietitians.co.za) at the TRF Wellness Centre in Technopark, Stellenbosch.