7 Strategies to conquer comfort food cravings
Why we crave heavier foods in the winter and what to do about it.
Have you ever noticed that when winter arrives, your food intake changes? It’s natural to crave heartier food during the cooler months, but it doesn’t have to translate into gaining weight. If you’re afraid of gaining weight in the winter, it’s easy to become under nourished while you try to reduce calories—-which often leads to food cravings that result in the weight gain you’ve feared. What can you do to maintain a healthy balance?
- Eat full and well balanced meals. Include lean protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates. Make sure your meals are well rounded. Don’t shy away from any one food category—-just make good choices in each category.
- Protein: Protein is the building block of all cells and getting enough will help keep you full for longer. Good sources include: Lean white meat chicken, eggs, wild caught fish, lentils, beans, nuts and seeds.
- Carbohydrates: Carbs are our bodies preferred source of energy. If you don’t get enough, you will feel sluggish. Good sources include fruits, vegetables, whole grains (oats, rice, millet, quinoa, spelt, faro, etc.). The bulk of your carbs should come from vegetables.
- Healthy Fats: Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to limit your intake of fat in order to lose weight and increase well being—but you do need to be choosy in regard to the particular fat that you ingest. Good choices include oily fatty fish (herring, salmon, sardines, anchovies), nuts, nut butters, seeds, avocado. Healthy Fats play a huge role in keeping our immune system working well as contributing to your level of satiety which is important to keep the hungry horrors at bay.
- Portion Control: Eat quality foods in APPROPRIATE amounts. Use YOUR hand to determine portion sizes:
- Protein: Palm of YOUR hand—in thickness and diameter
- CARBS: Cupped hand (this includes whole grains and fruits)
- FAT: YOUR thumb—this includes oils, seeds, nuts, nut butters, avocado, etc.
- Get Enough Vitamin D: Deficiency leads to bone loss (hello osteoporosis?), food cravings, and depression. Good sources: Fatty Fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, rainbow trout), egg yolks, nutritional supplements. GET OUTSIDE: Natural sources of Vitamin D can only be absorbed once activated by the sun, so enjoy as much time outdoors as you can.
- Stay Connected Make sure you don’t spend too much time alone. Share a meal or a walk with friends or family. Visit a museum or attend other cultural events to get out and around others. Join a gym, or take exercise classes and go regularly to build community. Volunteer your time to causes you find worthy.
- Find some form of physical activity that you enjoy. You are more likely to participate regularly if you are having fun.
- Find an accountability partner. When you’ve scheduled to meet someone—-for a walk, to meet at the gym or to go to a class together—-you a less likely to cancel.
- Exercise produces endorphins and these feel good hormones are just what you need to keep coming back for more!
- Be Prepared: with healthy snacks
- Ditch the sugar: Sugar is pro-inflammatory. Too much inflammation in your body causes pain—-which can sabotage your workout plans. Inflammation causes low energy which can sideline you from your life (hello depression?). Sugar consumption can also lead to a variety of health ailments including diabetes, cancer, arthritis, obesity, auto-immune diseases and has can exacerbate mental health issues as well.