Beat winter cravings
Warming winter swaps
During winter, it’s not uncommon to gain a little weight. In fact, many people put on an extra kilo each month, sometimes up to three kilos during the cold seasons. But with a few smart strategies you can beat that. All you need to do is shake up your routine. You can still enjoy your favourite comfort foods, but with a healthy twist. Try these ideas.
SWAP: Macaroni and cheese
FOR: Homemade baked beans with pumpkin mash with a sprinkle of mixed herbs
Why? There’s something about the warm carbohydrates and gooey cheese that screams comfort. But by swapping to homemade baked beans with roasted pumpkin, you’ll still get that comforting hit but with significant advantages. Stick to low-GI baked beans and you won’t be opening the fridge again an hour later.
WW expert tip: Stock up your pantry with canned and dried legumes.
SWAP: Bread and butter pudding
FOR: Vanilla poached pears
Why? Do you love whipping up a warm winter dessert? Don’t skip it altogether, just make the switch to poached, baked or roasted fruit. Aromatics such as vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg add spice and make everything nice – not to mention a good dose of antioxidant activity. Seasonal winter foods include custard apple, grapefruit, green and gold kiwifruit, lemon, lime, quince and rhubarb.
WW expert tip: Buy individual oven and microwave-safe ramekins to portion control your cooked fruit dessert servings.
Why? Substitute red meat in your bolognaise, curry or casserole with legumes such as chickpeas, red kidney beans or lentils. Not only is this good for your weight loss, but it makes good sense for your household food budget too! Legumes are a cost-effective source of protein, low-GI and have resistant starch to promote optimal levels of good bacteria in the gut for an immunity boost.
WW expert tip: Get the slow cooker out and check out our slow recipe collection.
SWAP: Cauliflower and white sauce
FOR: Roasted spiced cauliflower and broccoli
Why? Add green cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and brussels sprouts to your menu for their protective compounds. When it comes to spices, a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry suggests that turmeric, can cause a modest but measurable increase in levels of a protein important in the immune system and may help prevent infection.
WW expert tip: Discard and replace any out-of-date spices so you always have great flavour to add to dishes.
SWAP: A swirl of cream in soup
FOR: A dollop of low-fat yoghurt
Why? With probiotic live bacteria cultures that boost immunity, it pays to use a good-quality, low-fat yoghurt in the place of cream or sour cream. Research by Dr Barbara Rolls from Pennsylvania State University shows eating a healthy soup before a main meal helps to lower the total kilojoule intake at that meal. Research also shows probiotics may help strengthen your gut defence and minimise risk of pathogens and nasties getting in.
WW expert tip: Batch-cook soups and keep them frozen in portion-controlled containers to grab and go for a healthy lunch.
SWAP: A meat pie
FOR: Beef and mushroom pot pie with sweet potato mash
Why? Slashing the amount of pastry and switching to a mash topping and the addition of mushrooms is so good for your health. While regular, indirect sun exposure is the best way to get your vitamin D you can also boost your intake through dietary sources such as mushrooms. Wild varieties and those pulsed with UV light are an excellent source of vitamin D, which helps to ward off any winter blues from lack of sunlight.
WW expert tip: If you tend to feel more blue in the cooler months, chat to your GP about a blood test to check your vitamin D levels.