Updated 07 July 2020

5 tips on eating healthier this winter

It’s cold outside and you are craving comfort food. But don’t let this deter you from eating enough whole, nourishing foods.

  • Healthy food can also be comforting and nourishing
  • You don’t have to let go of your health goals simply because of cold weather
  • These tips will help you eat healthy during winter

With the temperatures being low and the rain lashing down in parts of South Africa, you might be tempted to overdose on all your favourite comfort foods, whether it’s sweet treats or rich casseroles and desserts.

But if you have set a goal for yourself, whether it’s to eat healthier for your general well-being, or to lose a couple of centimetres, don’t let the cold deter you from reaching your goal. Here are some tips on how to eat hearty and healthy at the same time.

1. Pack salads full of flavour and variety

A bland salad is never satisfying, no matter what the temperature. Spice up fresh vegetables by experimenting with your lunch salads – roast vegetables with some olive oil and fresh herbs and keep them in the fridge to use in salads. Add some substance by using whole grains such as brown rice or quinoa in your salads. Always ensure that you include a source of protein, such as chickpeas, kidney beans, hard-boiled eggs, or chicken.

2. Eat more omega-3 fatty acids

Include foods such as nuts, seeds, oily fish and avocados in your meals. Not only will the high omega-3 levels keep you fuller for longer, but they will literally help fight the winter blues – research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids can help lower seasonal depression.

3. Plan your meals and allow for treats

Don’t deny yourself any foods during winter – we are already dealing with the stress of a pandemic. However, plan your meals weeks ahead and know what you're going to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner, especially if you are working from home and need to stick to a routine. Allow for indulgences such as a square or two of your favourite chocolate or a glass of red wine over weekends. This will help you stay on track with your healthy eating goals and prevent cravings, which could lead to overindulging.

4. Cook hearty soups and curries

“Healthy” doesn’t have to mean sticking to steamed fish and vegetables or salads. You can still enjoy a delicious, nourishing, warming meal without overindulging. Onion, garlic, coriander, ginger, turmeric and chillies are the perfect winter warmers to add to soups and curries – not only are these foods great for boosting your immune system and fighting inflammation, but they will add flavour to your soups, curries or casseroles.

5. Don’t forget the fruit

Smoothies, juice and refreshing fresh fruit salads may not be on top of your list while it’s cold outside, but you can still incorporate fruit into your diet when it’s cold. Add steamed apple slices and cinnamon to a bowl of warm, hearty oats for breakfast, and enjoy seasonal citrus fruit such as oranges and naartjies to boost your immune system.

READ | How to eat for a robust immune system

READ | Lost your motivation to eat healthy and exercise during the pandemic? You are not alone

READ | 5 healthy vegetarian recipes if you are tired of the same old chicken dinner 

Image credit: Daria Shevtsova 


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