As winter approaches ever so quickly, it’s a good time to remember that NOW is your time. Why wait until the New Year to make changes? Take a real look at your goals for the winter, assess where you are, and start building a plan to achieve those goals. In the realm of nutrition, planning ahead is key. So, as you begin to assess, think about some things. Have my workouts changed? Do I work longer days, do I sleep more, do I enjoy eating more warm food? There are a lot of changes that may take place as winter sets in. Maybe you’re an avid skier, or maybe you take the winter to regroup for the spring. Either way, it’s a changing time and with that comes opportunity. Change brings growth and that is what we are all looking for right? Okay, maybe not around our midsection!
To begin, there are quite a few things that typically happen to a lot of people in the winter months. Some people are less active, some may eat a bit more, and some might even work longer hours. Taking this into consideration it might be helpful to put some things into place so that you can achieve your goals and change the way you have done things in the past. For example, start now by picking your favorite classes to attend, start up a training program or join kinesis, plan some of your favorite comfort meals and make them a healthy version, or put aside some down time even if it’s only 20 minutes each day. Think about feeling your best and visualize it, make it a reality in your mind.
There are many foods that act as comfort foods, but are still healthy options.
Crock pots are great for the winter as they take very little time to prepare and retain all their nutrients as you cook. Using chicken or lean buffalo, kale, broth, carrots, and onions you can make a savory meal and not have to be home to cook it. Add some fruit for dessert and you are all set. Getting a monthly subscription to a healthy magazine might inspire you to gather ideas for desirable recipes. If your training has shifted to less cardio and more weight training, adding more protein and decreasing some carbohydrate in your diet may be helpful. This will help support lean muscle mass as well as provide satiety and energy throughout the day. Some other things you might consider are adding more things that will have immune boosting benefit. These include green leafy veggies, berries, turmeric (curcumin), vitamin C, zinc, B vitamins, lipoic acid, CoQ10, cinnamon, cloves, walnuts, ginger, pumpkin seed, nutmeg, olive oil, peppermint, tea, omega-3 fats, flax, krill oil, chia seed, or hemp seed. Stress can be a large factor as the holidays approach and the work nights get longer. Some nutrients that provide a soothing affect are folate, B12, selenium, and antioxidants like the ones mentioned above. A lot of B vitamins are found in meats, legumes, green vegetables, and whole grains. Makes sense that when we are stressed and then eat a less than optimal meal, we actually feel worse. Selenium, which raises serotonin levels, is found in high amounts in turkey. Oysters carry a lot of zinc which help fend off colds. Garbanzo beans are high in folate and are a great addition to salads or pureed for a dip.
We can go on and on about the benefits of eating healthy and the affect they have on our mood, recovery, sleep, detoxification, energy, and performance, but without making the choice to change, it doesn’t really matter. So, NOW is the time. Get out your schedule and make 3 changes to your diet that you think would help you achieve your goals. Make a day to go grocery shopping, make snack baggies for when you get busy, and cook some meals on the weekend perhaps. Choose your changes and start now. Get excited for the New Year and the New You!