We all know the winter urge to snuggle up under some blankets and eat until we feel warm on the inside! And experts from the University of Texas have actually proved that we’re hardwired to consume more food in winter – eating six to seven per cent more kilojoules than in warmer months. If you’re worried about your winter weight gain, here are a few tips for keeping your cravings in check when the temperature drops:
Consider your chocolate treat
Straight out denying your chocolate craving is no good and will hardly ever work. However, you can switch it up a little to get the satisfaction with less guilt. If you want a hot chocolate, go for organic cocoa with skimmed milk, which comes in at just 500kJ. This is compared to the 2200+ kilojoules from a cafe hot chocolate (such as Starbucks). Swap your chocolate bar for a slice of whole grain bread with chocolate spread. It has half the sugar, a third of the fat and will actually boost your whole grain intake for the day!
Ditch the telly and eat earlier
We probably didn’t need researchers to prove it, but a study in the American Journal of Health Promotion has shown that there is definitely an association between TV viewing and high intake of junk food snacks. Most of our extra winter kilojoules are are also consumed after 5pm so keep an eye on your late evening snacking.
Swap your brekkie
Cereal isn’t the most appealing thing to wake up to on a cold morning, but don’t reach for the frypan just yet. Porridge will fill you up just as much but will cut your kilojoule intake by at least 50 per cent.
Counteract the cravings
It’s probably the last thing you feel like doing, but working out will actually beat your cravings. Studies show that exercise changes our brain chemistry, giving it a mood-enhancing effect. It’s a good way to combat stress and may be an alternate strategy to comfort eating.
Look after yourself
Just as much as overeating is bad, it’s also dangerous to take up a strict diet during the colder months. Experts believe it lowers the immune system and puts you at risk during the flu season. Instead, fill your plate with salmon, seafood, vegetables, fruit, whole grains and beans. These boost white blood cell levels and reduce saturated fat, which has also been found to impair your immune system.