Eating healthy during fall and winter weather can be a challenge. When it’s cold outside, it’s time for warm savory soups and comfort foods. Holiday celebrations and parties from Halloween to New Year’s Day are filled with delicious sugary and fatty foods.
How to Eat Healthy When It's Cold
How to Eat Healthy When It's Cold
By Barbara Sherwood, MS, RDN
5 minute read
Additionally, the environment adds even naughty temptations from well-intended Co-workers bringing in extra treats to share. It’s not surprising that most of us gain weight during winter. Thankfully, you can still make healthy choices, even during fall and winter. Being intentional with your food choices will help.
Meal Prep Snacks
Meal planning is an important strategy in successful healthy eating. Here are a few tips to help you along the way:
- Decide on several healthy snacks you enjoy
- Once a week, cut up fresh produce and portion out snacks
- Always have a few options nearby
- Eating regularly to avoid last-minute unhealthy decisions
- Schedule a small snack or meal every few hours
Keep a Food Diary
If you find that holiday treats disappear around you quickly, you might benefit from keeping a food diary. By tracking everything you eat, you’ll be much more aware of what’s going into your body. Your food diary doesn’t have to be complicated. You can even take advantage of the many apps available on your smartphone for tracking calories. No matter how you do it, a food diary can keep you on track and accountable during cold-weather months.
Think about Portion Sizes
Although portion control doesn’t sound exciting, it’s the best way to have your cake and eat it too. With comfort foods and decadent desserts taking the stage during fall and winter, it’s not realistic to deprive yourself all the time. But that doesn’t mean your healthy eating plan is finished. Portion control is key. Use smaller plates or split servings in half to share with a friend.
Bring Your Own Food and Eat Before Parties
With cold weather comes holiday parties filled with delicious foods. Prepare yourself to eat healthy by filling up on something healthy before you leave home. Eating a small salad or an apple beforehand will curb your hunger, and help you make better decisions with your food. When attending parties, you can also volunteer to bring a healthy dish. That way you’ll know there’s at least one healthy thing you can eat.
Have a Plan for Indulgences
Between trick-or-treat leftovers, holiday cheer, and goodies from the neighbors, fall and winter have become the time for indulgences. Heading into cooler weather without a plan about how to handle these indulgences is a recipe for disaster. Instead, decide ahead of time when or what you’ll indulge in. One way to do this is to decide on specific times (once or twice a week) or holidays where you’ll allow yourself to indulge. You can also make a list of your favorite winter-time indulgences, and only splurge from items on that list. No matter how you decide to do it, having a plan will help you make the choices you need to make to enhance your health.
Embrace Healthy Cold-Weather Foods
The changing of the seasons doesn’t automatically mean that all things must be rich in carbohydrates and/or sugar. Many cold weather foods make healthy options. Broth-based soups, squash, and roasted vegetables are all good ways to stay warm while still eating healthy. Don’t feel like cooking? Take advantage of your crockpot and make comfort foods like chicken noodle soup or a roast with vegetables.
Fall and winter don’t need to be a harvest of unhealthy food choices. Planning ahead and being prepared can help you stay on track with your health goals.