The food choices that you make are extremely important because they have a direct effect on your health. In the United States, over 35.7 percent of adults are obese – and one of the factors responsible for this is unhealthy eating habits. Obesity is not the only problem that arises out of an unhealthy diet. A poor diet has been linked to major illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, hypertension and even cancer.
You may have a habit of eating healthy foods regularly. However, when there is a dip in the temperature, it brings along with it a craving for comfort food. Healthy foods no longer look as appetizing as sugary foods loaded with carbs. So do you give up on your healthy eating habits during these trying times? Here are simple ways in which you can still eat healthy during the cold winters.
1. Replace comfort foods with healthy alternatives
You do not have to deprive yourself of comfort foods, but try and find healthy alternatives to them. Who doesn’t love buttery mashed potatoes or mouthwatering mac and cheese? The problem with these dishes is that they have too many calories and carbs in them. All you need to do to enjoy these dishes during winters is to tweak their recipes a bit. For example, use sweet potatoes to make the buttery goodness instead of regular potatoes, and substitute the butter for coconut milk. In your mac and cheese, use a puree of squash or cauliflower instead of using heavy cream to make your cheese sauce. These little things go a long way in keeping you on track.
2. Eat foods that are harvested in winter
When you go to your grocery store, buy winter produce instead of buying overpriced vegetables and fruits. Apples, carrots, beets, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, pumpkin, butternut, and pears are examples of foods that are typically harvested in winter. These vegetables have the essential nutrients to beat your gloomy moods during winters.
3. Use spices to warm you up
There is a reason why spicy foods are also known as “hot” foods – they literally heat up your insides. The next time you are craving comfort foods, use these spices to make your food tastier and healthier. You can add cumin, paprika, nutmeg, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger and chili powder to keep yourself toasty warm during the harsh winters. In fact, spicy foods have also been known to clear out your blocked sinuses.
4. Include warm salads in your diet
Comfort foods are so popular during winters because they provide your body the warmth that it craves during these times. Another alternative to get the same result is switching to a warm salad. The warmth of these salads will also make them more appetizing. Remember to add nutrients in the form of toasted nuts, chicken, chick peas, winter squash, cauliflower, and parsnips.
5. Make fruity desserts
No one is asking you to completely give up on desserts during the cold season. Skip the high-in-calories brownies and decadent chocolate cake, and go for fruity desserts instead. There are so many mouthwatering desserts that can be made using seasonal produce. You will also end up using less sugar and butter because these fruits and vegetables are fresh. Some of the desserts that you can gorge on include apple pies, pear crumble, butternut squash pie and pumpkin pie. You can even come up with a new healthy dessert, something that satisfies your sweet tooth.
The thing to keep in mind is that you do not necessarily have to give up on foods that you love. Just find a healthy alternative and you are good to go. When you want to lead a healthy life, it is also important to be physically active. Being physically active does not have to be difficult, it can be as easy as going dog walking at the park or doing a few exercises at home.
By Paige Johnson, guest writer