How To Keep Your Health On Track This Winter
How To Keep Your Health On Track This Winter

How To Keep Your Health On Track This Winter

Colder weather inevitably means spending more time inside, as well as eating more and moving less – so it’s only natural to feel like your usual healthy routine is slipping. Luckily, the experts say there are a few simple tweaks you can make to ensure things stay on track. From easy food swaps to new morning habits, here’s what they recommend…
By Tor West

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Start Your Day With Protein & Fat

“Prioritising breakfast is key during the winter. Always include a source of protein and healthy fats to keep blood sugar balanced and reduce cravings throughout the day. Swap instant oats for jumbo oats, which will keep you fuller for longer, and add flax and chia seeds to support gut health and regular bowel movements. Always include a source of protein with your porridge – a scoop of protein or collagen powder or a spoon of Greek yoghurt work well. Healthy fats in the form of nut butter, coconut flakes or cacao nibs will keep you satiated, too, and keep you from reaching for the biscuit tin or tin of Celebrations at 11am.” – Clarissa Lenherr, nutritionist

Don’t Weigh Yourself Every Day

“Try to get out of the habit of weighing yourself on a daily basis, especially over Christmas when weight will naturally fluctuate due to water retention and the quantity of food in the digestive system. However, weighing yourself once a week can be a useful way to keep yourself accountable. Do so once a week, on the same scale, at the same time of the day and preferably first thing in the morning after you’ve been to the loo before you’ve had anything to eat or drink.” – Kim Pearson, nutritionist

Make Healthier Versions Of Comfort Food

“Cold weather and dark mornings and evenings can affect mood, which can be a driver for comfort eating. Moreover, many people find they are more likely to turn to takeaways in the winter as post-work trips to the supermarket are less appealing in the dark. Do some research and find healthier versions of your favourite comfort foods. For example, cauliflower mash is a great substitute for mashed potatoes that’s lower in carbs, and konjac rice can replace regular white rice. If you love hot chocolate, try making your own with raw cacao powder sweetened with xylitol and a quality plant-based milk that's free from additives, like Plenish.” – Kim 

Buy A Veg Box

“Balance out the festive indulgence by eating seasonally – it’s a fantastic way to flood the body with nutrients. Mother nature provides us with certain foods at certain times of the year for a reason. For example, citrus fruits, which are known to be rich in the immune-essential vitamin C, are in season over the winter months. Winter vegetables like parsnips, pumpkin, swede, shallots and celeriac work well in warming stews and are a great source of nutrients and fibre to keep your gut happy. A veg box is an easy way to eat seasonally – I use Riverford.” – Kim

To enhance porridge, SWAP INSTANT OATS FOR JUMBO OATS and stir through protein powder and nut butter to KEEP YOU FULLER FOR LONGER.

Swap HIIT For Weights

“While HIIT training is known to increase fat burning in the short term, it’s not necessarily the best approach for everyone. I have worked with many clients who have been exercising intensively – going to HIIT classes daily alongside a low-calorie diet and not losing weight. In situations like this, the combination of intense exercise coupled with inadequate calories causes the body to cling to fat. Muscle, on the other hand, is metabolically active, meaning it burns calories even when we are at rest. Swap intense cardio for at least three weights sessions per week and you’ll see the results. Consider booking a couple of PT sessions to nail your technique if you're a complete beginner.” – Kim

Up Your Fibre

Glucomannan – also known as konjac fibre – can help control appetite. A fibre supplement that’s most effective when taken just before a meal, it binds with water in the stomach so you’re less likely to overeat, and it’ll keep you fuller for longer. If you know you have a big meal coming up and you’re watching your weight, it can certainly reduce feelings of hunger and reduce portion sizes. Always take the amount stated on the bottle, and never buy unknown brands from Amazon. It’s important to know that the supplements you’re taking are safe and from a reputable supplier.” – Kim

Have A Bowl Of Soup

“If you are going to a restaurant and everyone is ordering starters, there’s no need to skip the course. Instead, order a bowl of seasonal soup, which will prevent you from overeating later on. If you’re entertaining at home, find a great soup recipe. At the same time, adding plenty of vegetables to your plate is a no-brainer if you’re keeping an eye on your weight – it will help reduce the portion size of the more carb and calorie-dense parts of the meal. Prioritise non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, aubergine, courgette and spinach, which are naturally lower in carbs and calories.” – Sophie Trotman, nutritionist

Take A Supplement

“No supplement is going to have the same level of impact that managing your nutrition is. However, CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) can promote weight loss. A specific type of omega-6 fat that’s naturally found in meat and dairy, albeit at much lower levels than you’d find in a supplement, studies suggest it can help speed up the metabolism and prevent holiday weight gain.” – Kim

Prioritise NON-STARCHY VEGETABLES like broccoli, cauliflower, courgette and spinach, which ARE LOWER IN CARBS AND CALORIES.

Make Sensible Swaps

“Weight gain can be common during the winter months – the most common causes are an increased consumption of more energy dense foods and reduced levels of movement. However, making swaps with your diet will make all the difference. For example, swap milk and white chocolate for dark chocolate with a minimum of 70% cocoa, which is packed with polyphenols, lower in sugar and higher in fibre. We also tend to eat less dark chocolate as it’s richer than milk varieties. Also, try swapping cheese for nutritional yeast – it works well in pasta dishes. Not only is it dairy-free and low in calories, but it’s also a source of B vitamins, which can help support your energy and immunity.” – Clarissa

Give Your Gut Some TLC

“Know you don’t have to drink at every social occasion. If you fancy a night off, try gut-loving kombucha. Filled with live cultures to support gut health and B vitamins for energy, your body will thank you. Then try swapping ice cream, custard and cream for kefir yoghurt – not only is it more refreshing on the palate, but it will also give your gut microbes a much-needed dose of probiotics.” – Clarissa

Be Wary Of Vegan Substitutes

“Melted cheese is pure comfort food, but it’s something to be enjoyed in moderation as it’s high in saturated fat. Serve it as a ‘sprinkling’ rather than the main event. It can be tempting to opt for a vegan cheese thinking it’s a healthier option but always read the label, as some are very processed and use a lot of coconut oil. Try to avoid plant-based cheeses unless they are made with nuts, such as Kinda Co and Nush.” – Jen Walpole, nutritional therapist

Always Travel With Snacks

“If you’re travelling this Christmas, make sure you have a healthy snack in your bag so you’re not tempted by unhealthy treats. I rate Vive protein bars – they contain good amounts of protein and healthy fats to keep you full and take the edge off cravings. I always travel with porridge pots and collagen sachets, too. At home, I have a couple of Soupologie soups in my fridge – they contain up to five different vegetables per serving and make an easy, low-calorie meal when you’re pushed for time.” – Clarissa 


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