If you find yourself dreaming of all things sweet, rich and decadent in winter, you might be pleased to hear it’s not just in your head. The cold weather tells our bodies it’s time to warm up, fast! That’s why it’s carb-rich sweets and snacks we want – they give you quick bursts of energy. They certainly warm you up, but they’re definitely not a healthy option. Here are our tips for banishing the cravings and snacking smarter.
Your body wants you to eat because it wants you to be warm. Choose food that will fill you up and keep you going. Fruit, vegies, soup, and oats are all good foods to keep you fuller for longer. Low-GI foods like quinoa, wholegrains and oats, sweet potato and legumes (like lentils and chickpeas) are easy to turn into a healthy and hearty winter meal.
Work out what your ‘snack o-clock’ is: the time (or times!) of the day you’re most likely to feel those hunger pains. Mid-morning, after lunch, before dinnertime and about 9pm are all common times that we reach for something to keep us going. Once you know when you’re most likely to crave a snack, you can plan ahead and make sure you have something healthy on hand.
Make sure you have something to eat in the morning. Eating a breakfast high in protein and fibre will give you energy for longer, and means you won’t be feeling hungry a few hours into the day. If you don’t have time before you leave for work, or prefer not to eat as soon as you wake up, take a tub of natural yoghurt and fruit to work or school with you and eat there.
Create healthier versions. You know you’ll want them anyway, and you don’t have to deny yourself your favourite comfort food all the time! Just look for healthier ways, like a homemade pizza, vegetable soup, or a sugar free dessert for a special treat!
Get outside. Many experts say that the lack of sunshine in winter can lead to our food cravings, as well as making us feel a bit blue. A bit of sunshine every day can help us feel happier and less hungry!
Make a point of exercising. While we’re talking about getting outside, make sure you’re active as well. Many of us do tend to exercise less during winter, and this means our bodies look for energy elsewhere – like food! Try to stick to a regular exercise routine to keep your body in balance.
Our top healthy snacks
Hard-boiled eggs. Easy to prepare in advance, eggs are a good source of protein to keep you feeling full.
Unsweetened yoghurt is another excellent source of protein and contains calcium for strong bones as well!
Apple with peanut butter: Fills you up and is a healthier way to quieten that sweet tooth!
Raw vegie sticks with dip: make sure the dip you choose is reduced fat, or try making your own! This beetroot dip recipe makes plenty fo the whole family.
Homemade muesli bars: full of fibre, these muesli bars are a great choice for a mid-morning snack. Plus you can customise exactly what goes into them!