Winter months make health and fitness that little bit harder; the cold, dark mornings, the windy evenings, the thought of staying in bed a little longer makes everything seem just a tad more impossible. But come to Spring we know the extra effort to get out of bed is all worth it as soon as we get down to the beach and we feel healthy, fit and confident. So what can you do to eat well, nourish your body and stay motivated this winter?
1. Make time for breakfast - Plan your breakfast ahead. Knowing that you have a delicious breakfast can be enough to get your out of bed, even on those bitterly cold mornings. Without a yummy breakfast to look forward to, getting to those morning classes can be a struggle. Try mixing up your breakfast with some winter warmers like this pumpkin spice porridge. It’s a delicious protein and nutrient-packed way to start your day!
2. Enjoy the sunshine - There are a few reasons for this one, but firstly Vitamin D. We all experience seasonal fluctuations in our Vitamin D levels, with winter obviously being lower. Vitamin D plays numerous roles in our bodies, including immune function, bone health, but even slightly lowered levels can contribute to fatigue and weakness. Aim for 10-15 minutes per day in the sun, easily achieved by sitting outside for your lunch break. Aside from sunshine, salmon, tuna, eggs (specifically the yolk) are all dietary sources of Vitamin D. Aim for salmon or tuna a few times per week, and yes, the canned variety counts! One other benefit of sunshine is boosting serotonin, our feel-good hormone. We can’t deny, it is easier to workout when we feel good!
3. Keep Hydrated - When it’s cold outside drinking our 2L per day can be a struggle. Even during the cooler months we still need 8 glasses, and even minor dehydration (think when your urine turns yellow), can make us feel fatigued and make working out more challenging. If you struggle with water in winter try using herbal teas or hot water with lemon to boost your fluids.
4. Build your Immune Function - Zinc and Vitamin C are two of the key micronutrients which build up your immune system and help keep those nasty winter bugs away. Nothing will halt your fitness journey like the flu. Zinc is found in abundance in beef, lamb, pepitas, lentils, chickpeas and cashews while Vitamin C is best from your bright coloured fruit and vegetables capsicum, kiwifruit, broccoli, berries and oranges.
5. Boost your Gut Bugs - Our gut, specifically the bugs residing there play a key role in our immune system. Keeping a healthy gut by including plenty of probiotic-rich foods like good quality yoghurt, kefir, kimchi, kombucha or miso can help keep winter illness away.
6. Comfort Food - Healthy, and delicious comfort food is definitely a thing. Get yourself a slow cooker and start experimenting with stews, curries and soups. Add plenty of vegetables and lean protein; coming home to a dinner ready in the cooker with the aroma wafting as you walk in the front door makes healthy easy, even for the laziest of Beans! Be mindful if we are feeling tired, moody or down, it can be easy to reach for more than our fair share of carbs, I mean who doesn’t want to pile their plate with mash in winter? Instead, add plenty of vegetables and keep the carbs to about ¼ of your plate. Come summer you’ll thank me. Check out my recipe for chicken, veggie & rice soup.
7. Snuggle up with a book and a cuppa - It can be easy to reach for hot chocolate, biscuits and other not-so-lean snacks when we are cold and want that little bit of comfort and warmth. Instead, try getting your favourite book, a yummy tea and snuggle up on the couch for a healthier form of comfort.
If you think you might need that extra level of support to get you through winter, someone to hold your hand and step you through the process to create a delicious, healthy diet for you that actually helps you achieve your goals, I can certainly help. You can get in touch with me here and we can do it together this winter! Just say the word and I’ll be there to help you!
If you want to stay connected with Marika you can find here on Instagram @marikaday, on Facebook @MarikaDayNutrition or on her website www.marikaday.com