5 tips to shake off the winter blues

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Instead of indulging in comfort food and vegging on the couch, follow Naazneen Sali-Ameen, Nutrition, Health and Wellness Manager at Nestlé South Africa’s five tips to keep your eating and exercising goals on track.

Create simple one-pot meals.

Avoid the fast food temptation. Plan ahead and create simple yet hearty ‘one pot’ meals consisting of lean protein and vegetables, such as lentil or bean stew or chunky chicken and vegetable soup. Mix with some low GI carbs such as sweet potato, reheated pap with beans, brown rice or whole-wheat toast to ensure a balanced meal and to help keep you fuller for longer.  Remember for each main meal aim to have ½ plate veg, ¼ plate protein and ¼ plate starch/grains.

Don’t overindulge

During winter we all crave comforting, starchy foods. You can still enjoy these nutritious dishes by being mindful of your eating habits and by having appropriate serving sizes. Eat slowly and make mealtimes an occasion. Eating in front of a TV or computer can distract you and cause you to overeat.

Create alternatives to your favourite take-outs

If you are craving a juicy burger or crispy pizza, avoid a trip to the mall. Rather make your meal at home and turn it into an occasion. This way, you have complete control of what goes onto your plate. Think of grilled ground all-beef patty burgers on whole-wheat buns with fresh vegetables as toppings and baked sweet potato chips as a side or thin based pizza with a sprinkling of cheese and topped with loads of tasty vegetables. Get the kids to dress up the dining room as a restaurant setting and enjoy the meal as a family.

Keep hydrated

Curb your winter cravings by keeping hydrated. Herbal teas or warm water and lemon are great options as it keeps you warm and fills you up. The lemon also provides some much needed vitamin C, which is great for fighting colds. To mix it up, try adding freshly grated ginger or a little cayenne pepper. Avoid drinks with added sugar.

Move more to keep warm

Find fun ways to get you moving. Playing hide and seek with the kids, try out a You Tube yoga session, do some skipping, hula hooping or follow a reputable exercise app.  Allow each family member to write down one or two physically active ideas they’d like to do – for example, playing soccer, going cycling or learning how to skip rope. Once all activities are in, mark off the different activities on a calendar and stick the sheet on the fridge for everyone to see. This will give your children something to look forward to.

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