What Should Our Winter Diet Be Like?
Winter is the coldest and darkest of all seasons. It is time for the living creatures to find shelter, while nature’s crops are in storage.
We do need to take extra care of ourselves during the cold winter months, especially here in the Northeast, in the climate we live in, being so close to the ocean. Winter is a busy time, with the holidays and all expectations that seem to be part of this season, and we must be careful not to run our batteries down after all the busy activities of seasonal celebrations. Plenty of sleep and relaxation from tensions will help to recharge our energy. It is important to make some time for a healing massage, spend some time in the steam room after a good workout or spend time in the sauna of your health club.
As the winter weather here is mainly cold, a warming diet, that produces heat is necessary for our overall immunity and well-being. We have to make sure to not increase our food intake, because the days feel shorter and we might end up burning less calories than during the active summer months. A diet which consists mainly out of cooked vegetables, lean protein and whole grain carbohydrates will produce the warmth we need, and with regular indoor exercise added to our routine, we will stay in pretty good shape until spring comes and we can once again cleanse and lighten our diet to more raw choices.
Warm hearty soups, roasted nuts, and seeds sound perfect on a cold day!
Vegetables can be eaten lots daily, some as salads, other in steamed or baked form. Sautéed foods fit well into a winter diet, actually better than any other season, but please watch out to not overuse heated oils and fats. Vegetable soups on a wet cold day are nutritious, warming, and easy to digest. Root vegetables like carrots, turnips, onions and sweet potatoes are perfect for the winter diet. Garlic and ginger root will spice up our daily menu, and cayenne pepper, cumin and turmeric all add heat to our meals and warm the whole body.
Cooked whole grains, like brown rice and quinoa make an excellent staple in the winter diet. If grains are cooked or eaten with beans like red adzuki beans, mung beans, black beans, or lentils, you will have a complete protein, which is a great choice for vegans, vegetarians or anybody who wants to take a day off from animal products.
Nuts and seeds are great on a salad or can be a wonderful snack. I recommend a palm full of nuts daily, not more! Feta cheese, which is made from sheep’s milk, is one of the easier cheeses for your body to handle. The slightly salty flavor of feta cheese does fit a winter diet well.
Ocean fish, low in fats with high amounts of protein, minerals and vitamins are very healthful for the winter diet. I recommend all seafood’s high in Omega-3 fatty acids, like sardines, wild Alaskan salmon, cod, shrimp and halibut. Organic chicken and turkey and occasional red meat should be part of the menu for all meat eaters.
We should not forget about Vitamin-C rich citrus fruits, which will help us keeping our immune system strong. Oranges, adding a splash of lemon or lime- juice in your daily water, or kiwi and pineapple are all excellent sources of Vitamin-C!
Any herb or herbal tea that does make you feel warm and cozy while you are resting and gathering your energy are perfect at this time of the year.
During my seminars and one-on-one consultations, I always recommend a diet as whole and as nutrient rich as possible. Nutrient rich foods provide our bodies with the vital nutrients we need for optimal functioning and help us to feel our best. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, powerful antioxidants, and phytonutrients (plant- nutrients) that science believes are at the foundation of health promotion, disease prevention and longevity.
So please use this quiet time of the year to pamper yourself and your loved ones with delicious, nutrient rich home cooked meals made from fresh and whole ingredients to boost your health and strength to prepare for a more active season to come.
For more information, please see me at Norwell Athletic Club (NAC).
Yours in Health,
Owner of Simplify Holistic Nutrition