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Make a smooth transition into winter and maintain your wellness with our practical food and healthy eating tips. Read on to discover:
- How to prevent the dreaded winter weight gain
- A special cookshop for people with irritable bowels
- The highs and lows of going Paleo
- Why you should eat kiwifruit, in season right now
- The healing power of honey and how it can suppress coughs
- Grapeseed oil – is it a new health food and should you use it?
How to Prevent Winter Weight Gain
Watching your waistline over winter can be a challenge. As the weather cools, the temptation for those not-so-healthy (but oh-so-hearty!) comfort foods increases.
And despite our best intentions, finding the motivation to brave the cold and get active can be an ongoing battle. After struggling out of bed on a frosty morning, all you might want to do by end of the day is throw on your ugg boots, curl up in a warm blanket and enjoy a hot chocolate and toasty cheese melt.
Weight gain can be hidden under those layers extra of clothing too, giving you a false sense of comfort. Some people even get lost in “hibernation mode”, not realising how many kilos have crept on until spring comes around the corner.
Research confirms winter weight gain is largely a result of reduced movement and increased eating. One study released by the NSW Food Authority and NSW Health found men are most likely to put on weight over winter with 53 % of males gaining an average of 2-5 kg compared to 38 % of females.
So, this year, don’t let winter ruin all your hard work. Stay out of hibernation with our 5 top tips for preventing winter weight gain.
1. Stock up on wholefoods
Have your kitchen packed with wholesome ingredients to pull together a hearty yet healthy meal.
- Consume fruits and vegetables daily. You might now prefer to roast or steam your veggies instead of going for salads. Try baking or stewing fruit for a warm, but nourishing winter dessert.
- Include some healthy low-GI carbs at each meal, such as wholegrain rice and pasta, high fibre breads and crackers, oats, buckwheat, quinoa and millet. These are satisfying without promoting weight gain.
- Legumes are perfect winter foods. Add chickpeas, black beans or kidney beans into stews. Load up your soups with lentils or split peas – a great way to fill your tummy while looking after your waistline.
- Don’t forget those healthy fats! Get out the extra virgin olive oil and drizzle it on bread, snack on new season nuts, and try spreading with fresh avocado, hommus or tahini instead of butter and margarine, which is frequently plastered on toasted sandwiches.
- If you eat meat, smaller and lean portions are the way to go – extend with legumes and vegetables as much as possible. Be sure to trim off any visible fat, remove the skin from chicken and avoid processed meats at all costs. Use stewing, poaching, steaming and boiling as your cooking methods of choice and you will also avoid the formation of nasty chemicals in your food linked with chronic disease.
2. Keep moving
Have a plan and stick to it. While the thought of venturing outdoors in winter may be less than desirable, you will be thanking yourself come swimsuit season. Schedule your daily exercise into your diary and avoid postponing the deadline. Choose activities that will make exercise fun and less like a chore. How about a group class?
Get yourself some fun workout gear and start moving your body. Whether it’s running, cycling, gym classes or even something more seasonal like skiing or ice skating – stay active and reduce the amount of time you spend sitting. It’s the lack of movement that usually makes you more sensitive to the chill!
Did you know? – Burning just 100 calories each day can prevent weigh gain. Yet an extra 100 calories per day equals 36,500 extra calories per year, which translates to a 5 kg weight gain!
3. Have an eating plan
- Plan several meals and snacks ahead to avoid spontaneous visits to fast food restaurants and drive-throughs.
- Eat breakfast daily to boost your metabolism straight from the get go.
- Think about your portions! Fill half of your plate with warming vegetables, a quarter with lean protein (e.g. legume-based dhal, baked fish, tofu skewers, poached chicken) and another quarter with slow acting but highly filling carbs (e.g. brown/red rice, quinoa, millet).
- Eat slowly. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to register fullness. Take your time and savour each meal. Especially if it’s a yummy one!
- Don’t drink your calories. Winter drinks tend to contain more calories than summer favourites. Watch out for milk-based sweetened hot chocolates and coffees. Make herbal tea your drink of choice this winter. Think sage or lemon verbena!
4. Slim down your family favourites
- For creamy dishes, swap the dairy cream for reduced-fat evaporated milk or natural yoghurt. Tahini (sesame seed paste) can also be used to make a delicious creamy sauce – and it’s totally plant based!
- For desserts, make your own cashew nut cream. See Sue Radd’s recipe for Cashew Nut Cream. It’s so easy and delicious!
- Substitute white flour for wholemeal flour, oat bran or flours made using other wholegrains, such as quinoa, amaranth and teff.
- Try our sublime cauliflower mash (see recipe video) or puree cooked white beans with herbs and olive oil, instead of eating regular mashed potato. Much smarter for your blood sugar!
- Swap sugar in your recipes for dried fruits like medjool dates or other natural sweeteners e.g. honey, Stevia or maple syrup.
5. Practical mindful eating
Mindful eating is a tricky skill to perfect but a fantastic tool to use for long-term weight loss maintenance. Eat without distraction. Turn off the TV and sit at the dinner table. Really focus on your meal – you are more likely to get more pleasure out of eating this way.
We eat for many reasons – hunger, boredom and stress. Maybe you eat to a clock? This often creates a loss of self-awareness and we lose sight of what hunger feels like. It’s hard to eat for the right reasons when we are not quite sure what they are. First ask yourself, am I really hungry? Then, how hungry am I? Finally, choose the perfect portion of wholefoods to satisfy your tummy. Remember practise makes perfect!
For more great ideas to help you control your weight this winter, why not check in to see one of our lovely dietitians or join us at our award-wining cookshops?
“People have got to learn: if they don't have cookies in the cookie jar, they can't eat cookies." - Suze Orman
What’s Cooking? – Dairy Free, Gluten Free & Low FODMAPs: How to Tame an Irritable Bowel
Are you suffering from unresolved bloating, wind, pain, diarrhoea or constipation? Have you been diagnosed with gluten intolerance or an allergy to dairy?
If so, this cookshop is for you!
Learn to make healthy, family-friendly wholefood recipes, which eliminate the culprits responsible for irritable bowel.
Taste yummy dairy-, wheat- and gluten-free recipes low in FODMAPS (fructose, polyols, fructans and GOS) without missing out on intact fibre – an essential element lacking in most commercially prepared products.
Join us for a special gut taming event! Spend two hours with one of our senior dietitians, experienced in treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The good news? 85 per cent of IBS cases can be treated. Why tolerate discomfort any longer? This practical cookshop could change your life!
When: Tuesday 14th July 2015, 6.30 pm - 8:30 pm
Read more about our cookshops
Where: Nutrition and Wellbeing Clinic, Castle Hill (Sydney)
You will enjoy a yummy four-course menu on the night and receive recipes and nutrition handouts to take home!
Call NOW on (02) 9899 5208 to book your place. IBS is common – why not invite a friend?
Food Matters with Sue Radd – Problems with Going Paleo
Heard about the caveman diet? Tempted to give it a go? Don’t do anything until you’ve read Sue Radd’s independent article on the pros and cons of going paleo. Get informed to lose weight and stay healthy at the same time.
What’s Fresh – Kiwifruit
You may think the kiwifruit comes from the land of the Kiwis, New Zealand. But in fact, the origin of this fruit is China. European botany expert Robert Fortune even named kiwi the Chinese Gooseberry. The name kiwifruit was coined later, after their arrival in New Zealand, and here in Australia we recognise the fruit by this name.
Kiwifruit have an oval shape with a fuzzy brown skin. As you slice one open you will be greeted by bright green flesh with a beautiful pattern of black seeds forming a circle in the centre. These gorgeous fruits are generally available all year round but reach their prime in the cooler months.
Kiwifruits are also nutritional powerhouses. They are loaded with vitamin C and are a good source of vitamin E and potassium. But one of the most significant benefits of the kiwifruit is its surprisingly high content of dietary fibre. This is due to the fine black seeds sitting within the sweet flesh. If your bowels are a bit sluggish, start eating kiwifruit today! Research from New Zealand has shown that by including two kiwis per day, you can be back to normal bathroom habits in no time!
To pick the freshest kiwifruit, look for a plump oval shape with a rough and fuzzy skin. When squeezed, the fruit should not feel too squishy and not too hard. Store ripe kiwifruits in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. If they are not quite ripe, leave them at room temperature before refrigerating.
4 fun ways with kiwifruit:
- Sweet and simple – cut open with a knife and use a spoon to snack on the delicious fruit inside. The perfect office or school snack!
- Parfait – add slices of kiwifruit, berries and banana in a fancy glass and layer with natural low-fat yoghurt. Sprinkle with some nuts and seeds on top and drizzle with 1 tsp honey for a delectable dessert.
- Blend it – add some kiwifruit to your favourite smoothie for added fibre.
- Tropical salsa – slice up some kiwifruit, mango, chilli, honey, coriander and lime juice with a pinch of salt and pepper for a sweet and spicy salsa. A perfect addition to homemade burritos or enchiladas.
Food InFocus – The Healing Power of Honey
Getting the sniffles? Kids have a nagging cough? Your family might benefit from honey, especially in winter. In this fascinating TV segment with Sue Radd, find out why honey is so good for you. Discover which honey to use and how you can give it to the kids to stop them coughing at night.
Kitchen Tips – Should You Use Grapeseed Oil?
Grapeseed oil is exactly what it sounds like – the oil extracted from the seeds of grapes. It is relatively new to the range of oils available in the supermarket and is gaining popularity with health enthusiasts. Yet grapes themselves do not contain oil, so high-tech machinery and chemical solvents need to be used to extract the oil from their seeds. Grape seeds are a waste product from the wine making industry, so using these seeds to turn waste into a new product makes good economic sense.
What are the promoted benefits of grapseed oil?
- Source of vitamin E (about twice the amount in olive oil)
- High in polyunsaturated fats
- No cholesterol, no trans fats and very little saturated fat
- High smoke point (can be heated to higher temperatures)
Sound good? But unlike extra virgin olive, avocado or macadamia oil, grapeseed oil is a refined oil. It also contains approximately 60-70 % polyunsaturated fats, mainly of the omega 6 fatty acid type, without their natural phytonutrients. A diet high in omega-6 has been linked with inflammation in the body and many animal studies also link it to cancer.
While grapeseed oil is often compared to olive oil, being touted for its higher polyunsaturated fat content, extra virgin olive oil (which is not chemically processed) is a much richer source of omega 9 fatty acids and provides multiple phytonutrients that dampen inflammation in your body and are linked with lower cancer rates.
Don’t be sucked in by the clever marketing of bright new shiny looking oils. As with all foods, look for oils produced using minimal processing – this means extra virgin – so they retain their complement of phytonutrients. Your body will thank you later!