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Keeping Healthy Over Winter

With the dark nights rolling in and the temptation to curl up in bed with a comforting bowl of pasta, or festive chocolate; how do you keep your healthy eating on track and trick your body out of craving all those comforting carbs? In celebration of World Food Day this week’s blog post is guest written by our very own in house trainer and nutritionist, Lauren Shuker.

For all you science buffs out there… as a direct reaction to lack of sunlight in the winter months our bodies produce the hormone melatonin (aka, the sleep hormone). This makes you sleepy and hungry; think ready for hibernation! Add to this our bodies natural craving for carbohydrates to keep us warm in the cold winter months and you’ve got a combination of lethargy and increased hunger; a recipe for festive over indulgence!

Here are my top tips to continue the good work you started over summer (or to start your new healthy diet a few months ahead of everyone else’s new year resolutions):

Start the day right

Opting for a fuller and more satisfying breakfast. I suggest a hearty porridge (using real oats – not flavoured sachets!) Try throwing in a few dried fruits for some natural sweetness.

Keep Exercising

This will help with producing endorphins which relieve stress, make you feel energised and maintain a strong metabolism and helps battle the effects of melatonin.

Avoid refined and processed foods

These are things like white bread, rice and sugary foods which zap your energy levels. Opt for more complex carbohydrates which provide you with nutrients and help stabilise your blood sugar and energy levels.

Eat Omega 3s and lean protein

These are things like oily fish (think tuna, mackerel and salmon) and flax seed. These are also proven mood boosters so help combat the effects of melatonin, making you more likely to keep going to the gym, even when it’s wet and cold outside!

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water avoids fatigue through dehydration. This doesn’t mean you just have to drink water, if you’re not a fan, try decaf herbal or green tea. Staying hydrated is vital for you to get the best out of your body and furthermore the best out of your workout!

Switch up your cheat treats

Giving into a treat isn’t the end of the world – it’s actually recommended (every now and again!) If you’re going to go for an indulgent dessert why not swap it up for something healthier like a hot dark chocolate drink? Or swap out white pasta for wholegrain, and why not add a few veggies in too?

Happy Hibernation (see you at BEAST)

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