- Be careful of hot beverages with lots of calories
We tend to drink more hot beverages in winter to warm us up – coffee, cappuccino’s, tea and hot chocolate drinks. If you add sugar or honey to these beverages, your daily calorie intake can quickly increase substantially and contribute to gaining a few extra kilograms over winter. Avoid or reduce the amount of sugar you use in these beverages, especially if you drink more than one in a day, and choose low sugar or sugar-free hot chocolate drinks. Also, be careful of milk coffees, cappuccino’s and sweet full fat milk drinks which are all more calorie dense. Green tea is a good choice and can increase your metabolic rate slightly and is also full of antioxidants, but do not add too much honey or sugar.
- Adjust your soup and stew recipes
Who does not love a hearty soup or stew in winter! It is actually very easy to adapt your favourite soup or stew recipe so that you can enjoy decent portions and save on some extra calories. Use homemade stock liquid and replace cream with low fat Greek or plain yoghurt. Add more vegetables and legumes instead of lots of meat and potato. A handy tip is to allow your stew or soup to cool in the fridge and then scoop off the layer of fat that forms on-top. You can save up to 200 kJ per teaspoon of fat you scoop off!
- Spice it up
Spicy dishes with curries and chillies can increase your endorphin levels and lift your mood – especially if you are prone to feeling a bit more depressed in winter. Spicy food warms our bodies and can even influence metabolic rate.
- Add legumes
Legumes like lentils, beans and chick peas are low GI and good sources of soluble fibre – which contribute to a fuller tummy for longer! By replacing the starch component of your plate with legumes, you can easily reduce the number of calories you consume. I normally cook my legumes beforehand and freeze them in smaller containers to use when I prefer, or you can opt for canned versions which you rinse under clean running water before use.
- Drinking water is important in Winter too
Drinking water when it is cooler can be difficult for some. We do not need less water in winter. Dehydration can contribute to low energy levels and make us feel hungry. Water is the drink of choice since it is calorie free. Keep a water bottle on your desk and take small sips throughout the day. Drinking enough fluids during the day is important for a healthy metabolic rate – especially if you want to lose weight.