Winter can be demanding when it comes to losing or maintaining weight – short days and cold evenings make it much easier to snack, especially on sweets. We also crave more comforting, warming foods which are usually high in fat and calories, such as casseroles with heavy cream and a lot of cheese. Try including more of these 10 products – they are perfect for grey winter days and full of nutrients.
If you are bored with conventional potatoes and looking for a tasty and healthy alternative, look no further! Sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index so they keep blood sugar at the optimal level protecting us from blood sugar spikes resulting in hypoglycemia and “energy crash”. They are also packed with as much satiating fiber as white potatoes, which fills you up and staves off hunger pangs. Plus, they’re super versatile! You can simply roast them in the oven with spices, make homemade fries, make a spicy sweet potato soup with cumin and coriander or prepare a warming casserole!
Oatmeal is a perfect breakfast for grey, chilly winter mornings – who wants a dry bowl of cereal with cold milk and a piece of fruit instead of steaming hot porridge with vanilla and cinnamon? It is rich in fiber and beneficial bacteria that influence how the body stores fat. You can top hot oats with Greek yogurt for more probiotic goodness and add some banana or agave syrup for a touch of natural sweetness. You can also add a spoon of peanut butter for some good fatty acids!
Brussels sprouts, which are plentiful during the colder months, contain an impressive bit of protein compared to other greens at 6-grams per serving (that’s about 8 to 10 mini cabbages). Brussels sprouts are also full of fiber and will fill you up so you don’t have snack cravings. If you don’t find Brussels sprouts tasty when cooked, try roasting them in the oven with little bit of olive oil, sea salt, thyme and other vegetables such as carrots and potatoes. Roasted vegetables are an ultimate winter comfort food!
This creamy corn dish serves up a low-fat complex carbohydrate (corn) that is high in fiber. Corn is a surprising source of several vitamins, including folic acid, niacin, and vitamin C. It is also rich in an insoluble fiber that helps fill you up, lower cholesterol and help to keep your weight off. Try making polenta for dinner by adding some mushrooms, chicken, and spinach.
Pomegranates are a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants, not to mention fiber and anti-inflammatory properties — but more than that, studies show that eating the fruit and drinking pomegranate juice can help protect against disease, like certain cancers and Alzheimer’s. You can sprinkle pomegranate seeds on salads or hot oatmeal. Pomegranate seeds are not only super low in calories, they’re also jam-packed with satiating fiber and magnesium, a key component to resisting the urge for a cold weather binge.
Swiss Chard is the official green of winter! These leafy greens are full on nutrients, vitamins and minerals such as calcium and magnesium. While calcium and magnesium help keep bones strong, these two super nutrients also work to help satiate appetite. That means after a side of Swiss chard you’ll be less likely to want a dessert after a full dinner or munch a bag of chips during the movie!
If you are worried about winter weight gain, try adding a little coconut milk to your next meal. Research suggests that the medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA) found in coconut milk may help speed up your metabolism and even promote weight loss. A study published in 2008 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that subjects who consumed meals containing MCFAs lost twice as much weight as those that didn't. Just be sure to read labels - not all coconut milk is the same, and some brands are very high in calories.
An ultimate winter warmer – it’s great for your health, keeps the cold away and it’s also beneficial for your waistline! You can sneak a whole load of vegetables (celery, carrots, peppers, spinach, parsley) in a broth-based soup to cash in on your daily-recommended amounts. Broth based soups compared to cream-based soups are typically low in calories so you don’t have to feel guilty about this comfort food. Filled with lean protein (use chicken breast as the meat), this soup will also help boost immunity and ward off winter colds.
Squashes get a lot of attention in the fall, but don’t forget about them during the winter! Their texture makes them perfect for making creamy winter soups (try making spicy butternut squash cream). They are also great roasted or in casseroles and vegetarian chillies. You can cut a butternut squash in half and roast it with a bit of olive oil and salt. Winter squashes like this one help protect your immune system and lower your chances of getting a cold with decent doses of vitamin C and beta-carotene. Plus, the fiber content will fill you up on a veggie that is still relatively low in calories (roughly 63-calories per uncooked cup of butternut squash).
A warming bowl of homemade chilli after a long day at work can be a truly comforting winter food. Healthy chilli can be made from some pretty basic, low calorie, and high fiber and protein ingredients. For example, you can make a batch with crushed tomatoes, garlic, fiber-packed kidney or black beans, and maybe a bit of lean protein (i.e., lean ground chicken or turkey). However, chili gets its name because it calls for chili powder, which contains a phytochemical known as capsaicin, linked to weight loss because it naturally boosts metabolism.
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