10 Easy Food Swaps To Keep Your Weight Down This Winter
Winter can be a time when we like to hibernate, and enjoy the luxury of warm, hearty meals, accompanied by red wine, and drinking more coffee than water during the day. Before you know it, spring will be here and so will the weight gain.
Changing eating habits can be daunting, especially if the habits have become deeply entrenched into your lifestyle. By making some simple changes can make all the difference this winter, and when spring arrives, you won’t have to worry about the four letter “d” word.
These simple food swaps will set you on the right path for a healthy and slimming winter.
1. Switch from alcohol to water
One or two glasses of wine are positively good for you, can aid relaxation, and young red wines are a good source of antioxidants.
By enjoying a glass or two, you won’t only keep the calories down, you will avoid the hangover the next day. Also, drinking to excess will produce broken capillaries, ageing blotches and skin dehydration. Keeping alcohol to a minimum and few alcohol-free days will assist with maintaining weight.
Drink plenty of water to avoid the worst dehydrating effects of alcohol, and hangover prevention. Work on the basis of one glass of water to each glass of wine.
2. Swap potato to sweet potato
Sweet potatoes are rich in the anti-ageing beta carotene, as well as vitamins A, B, C and E, and contain double the fiber than regular potatoes. They don’t spike your blood sugars the way potatoes do, but the trick is to keep the skin on. The skin is where most of the fiber resides in sweet potatoes.
3. Use cinnamon instead of sugar
You don’t only have to watch the sugar movie to know what it does to your body, and how addictive it is. There are articles in all the health magazines stating why avoid sugar, and the “I gave up sugar” books.
Often in winter, sugar is used as a flavor enhancer, over porridge, or in tea and coffee. Try to switch to a sprinkle of cinnamon for a less energy spice hit, may be just the delicious pick-me-up you’re after. Ultimately this may lead to only needing half the sugar you were adding previously.
Cinnamon helps to control blood sugar levels, and has shown to reduce cholesterol levels. It is also great for infections, such as urinary tract and yeast infections, and helpful for a sore throat due to its antiseptic and anti-microbial properties.
4. Eat what is in season
Not only will this save you money, your body will thank you. Mother nature is looking after us by growing what nutrients our bodies require each season. Also, the best part is the products in season are cheaper. Over winter, a pumpkin, carrot or sweet potato soup can often be made for next to nothing.
There is no better or more fun way to shop for seasonal foods than a farmers’ market (see organic below). You won’t only find fresh fruit and vegetables, you will commonly also find beautiful cheeses, including goats cheese, and protein packed fish and meat. Farmers’ markets are a great way to put you back in touch with nature, the seasons, and the requirements of what your body requires during these seasons.
5. Swap to organic where possible
A friend of mine told me once that the more people who purchase organic, the less they will eventually cost. Look for organic in fresh produce, or shop local at the farmer’s markets. Farmers’ markets are buzzing everywhere over weekends. They offer more diversity and freshness than supermarket aisles. The produce is not only organic, it is fresher, packed full of nutrients and the taste is incredible.
6. Think brown instead of white
White foods are full of processed ingredients. Brown foods are full of fibre and are satisfying, filling you up to reduce your need for sugary snacks. By switching processed white, and opting for brown versions of staple carbohydrates, such as pasta, rice and bread, will supply your body with a more complex slow-release sugars, a good source of energy. Brown foods also aid to balance hormones.
7. Cook instead of take away
This sounds like a no-brainer, but a huge one for limiting refined sugars, salts and saturated fat intake. When cooking at home you know what ingredients are used in your meals. It is great to be inspired to use up left over vegetables at the end of the week in a pasta, curry, soup, or roasted and served with yogurt and spices. Delish. Your waistline and wallet will be happier and healthier also. Check out some of our quick, easy and no measure recipes here and here.
8. Eliminate meat a few nights per week
Protein is essential for building every cell in the body. But our bodies can’t store protein, so it must be supplied daily through the food we eat. So why eliminate meat? The fact is if you eat too much protein, the excess is converted into fats and sugars.
Other great sources of protein are a combination of vegetables, such as spinach, mushrooms, eggs, dairy products and pulse legumes also supply your body with protein.
The downside to many meats is they contain high levels of saturated fats, so switching to lean chicken and fish will keep your weight in order over winter.
9. Switch from heavy meals to soup
How does the saying go? Eat like a King for breakfast, Prince for lunch and a Pauper for dinner? Having heavy meals at night not only can keep you awake, these heavy meals, especially when full of carbohydrates create weight gain.
Switching to a bowl of tummy warming soup a few nights per week can be the key to keeping the calories down. Save time by making a big pot at the start of the week to have for a couple of nights, or freeze for the nights you are tempted to buy take-away.
The secret is avoid mopping up with bread and butter.
10. Use yogurt instead of cream
Especially in curries, switching to yogurt instead of cream can make the meal half the calories.
Yogurt aids digestion, as it contains bacterias, such as Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Streptocussus thermophiles, all great superfoods for your stomach. Yogurt also contains protein, which aids the amino acids the body requires. It is also a great substitute for anyone lactose-intolerant because it produces an enzyme called lactase, (the sugar in the milk) which breaks down lactose.
Coconut milk is also a great substitute for cream.
And on a final note, it is cold and we love to enjoy warm food, so we don’t eat as much raw foods as what we do in winter. The solution to this is try to eat some warm salads over winter, so make a salad and then add some roasted vegetables, such as sweet potato, carrots, etc. By enjoying a salad with your meal will ensure you will keep your portion size down of heavy foods, and have a light salad on the side.
Keep hibernating over winter, and I will see you all in spring, looking lean and healthy.
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Cooking rather than eating out saves on salt and fat intake, not to mention the money.
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Carolyn Rowland is a qualified NLP Master Therapist, Advanced Practitioner of Matrix Therapies, Time Line Therapist, Practitioner of Hypnotherapy, has a Diploma for Business and Life Coaching and A Professional Image Stylist. Carolyn is happily married to her husband Simon, and raised four beautiful children, who are now young adults and a teenager.
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