Unfortunately, summer can’t last forever, and you may have noticed the temperature is on a steady decline. Fall is in full swing, which means it’s not only colder, but it’s getting darker earlier. During the fall and winter, many of us retreat indoors, cozied up on the couch. The foods we eat tend to be richer, and don’t get me started on the beginning of holiday season.
Many of us are whipping up comfort food, which tends to be higher in fat as they involve creams or are fried. Mashed potatoes, gravy, and cream-filled soups tend to show up more on our menus. Although these foods make us feel all warm and cozy, they tend to add extra pounds. It also seems that every celebration during this time is followed by endless desserts.
We tend to be more tired during this time, as sunlight is reduced on the daily. It seems by the time you arrive home, it’s already pitch black and you’re just too tired to work-out or do anything.
The weight gain is wreaking havoc on your health, but that doesn’t have to be the case. You can carry on through the fall and winter and maintain a healthy weight, but you have to be smart about it. Here are some tips to avoid the cold weather weight gain.
Continue to exercise: It may be hard to pull yourself away from the couch and head outdoors to go to the gym, but you have to keep yourself motivated. Maybe try to get a workout in on your lunch or when the sun is still out. Workout with a buddy so you can keep each other motivated and hold each other accountable for skipping. Start an in-home fitness plan—you don’t need fancy equipment to get a good workout, you can use household items to create resistance. Always remember to pick a workout that you enjoy so that you are less inclined to skip it. Set goals for yourself and write them down, and place them in a spot that you will always see them to remind yourself what you are working towards.
Party smart: Heading to a holiday party? Never go hungry. Even though there will be tons of food at the party, you should have a healthy snack prior so you don’t overindulge, especially in fatty foods. Even at the party, opt for more vegetables to fill you up instead of carbs. Also, be smart with your drinking. The more you drink, the more likely you are to make unhealthier food choices all while taking in more calories. Always switch between alcohol and water to stay hydrated and prevent a nasty hangover the next day. If you are attending a buffet, avoid making a second trip. Additionally, use a smaller plate. Studies have shown that eating off a smaller plate that is full tricks the brain into believing you consumed more food, making you feel full.
Be aware of your booze: Aside from wanting to prevent a hangover, many of us don’t realize that booze is loaded with calorie. Once again, ensure you are swapping between water and alcohol to help flush the alcohol out.
If you binge, then cut back: So maybe you overdid it at a party. That doesn’t mean you ruined your diet completely. We are all entitled to cheat meals, but ensure you are compensating by cutting back on calories for the following couple of days along with ramping up your workouts.
Make healthy diet swaps: You can still enjoy your favorite comfort foods by making easy ingredient swaps to improve the nutritional value. For example, instead of using creams and milk, swap for almond or coconut cream and milk. You can swap out butter for avocado, and play around with more natural and healthier sugars instead of using just plain white.
Monitor the foods you intake: As early as Halloween, we begin binging on candies—it’s a bad habit to start! We start eating more candies, gravies and sauces, melted cheese, excessive meat, and refined sugar, white flour, and wheat. Being aware of these foods can help you skip them, or at least reduce your intake of them. When eating out, be more mindful of the menu or food that is offered. If you are attending a potluck, be the person who brings a healthier option. Even if no one else eats it, you know that you have an option to munch on that you can feel guilt-free about.
Now that you know the tips to keep you from gaining weight during the next few months, here’s a healthy, warming, and comforting recipe you can try to get you started. Make sure you make a large batch and freeze the rest so you have this healthy recipe on hand.
Puréed carrots give this soup body, so you don’t actually need any milk or cream to make this dish smooth and filling. The ginger, coriander, and lime juice in this healthy recipe enrich this soup with unique and mouth-watering flavor.
In a soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add the carrots, onion, coriander, and ginger and cook until the onion softens. Top with the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer the soup, covered, for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the carrots are soft. Add the lime zest and juice. Purée the soup—in batches—in a food processor or blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serves four.