So in Part 1 of our current topic detailing how to eat to stay healthy in winter, we discussed spicing it up (your diet that is.) Today let’s look at two changes you can make that may seem counter intuitive when we are trying to avoid acquiring the annual “winter belly.
Eat More Food, More Often
Yes, that was not a typo. Specifically, I mean many people have more success in managing their cravings, feeling more energetic throughout their day and burning more calories when they eat say four to six small meals over the course of the day in comparison to when they were eating two to three large meals per day.
When sticking to a frequent meal plan, you are more likely to make better choices. Truthfully, the body does need more food in winter so go ahead and indulge it, but with plenty of fresh plant based choices. Salads, fruits, vegetables, whole grains (brown bread instead of white, roller meal instead of ngwerewere, brown rice instead of white, mbambaira (sweet potatoes) or madhumbe instead of regular potatoes). You will still need to take it easy on dairy products, eggs, meat and fish.
When eating this way, remember that even a small bowl of peas and carrots, tossed with olive oil, salt and your favorite warming spices is a meal
Eat More Fat
By this, of course, we mean good fat; specifically unrefined plant based fats and oils. There is more and more research suggesting that increasing the right kind of fat in your diet can actually boost your metabolism. Minimize flesh foods (meat, fish and eggs), and avoid dairy based fats like butter, and processed fats like margarine.
Instead opt for oils like coconut oil, if you can get it, which research has shown actually helps to burn fat. Olive oil is also a good choice, and for you diasporans there is a whole plethora of oil selections from which to choose.
Whenever you can, minimize frying foods and opt to add oil to your meal after it has cooked. It keeps the nutrients in the oil intact, and prevents the oil from producing harmful substances (some of which are carcinogens) from forming due to the high heat of frying. All of these oils can also be substituted for butter and margarine in many baking recipes.
Another great fat source is the avocado pear. This can be one of your meals with a handful of fresh veggies like carrot sticks, peppers, cauliflower and broccoli dipped in a salad dressing. It can also be made into a tasty dessert that even children and picky eaters will enjoy by mashing it with a little vanilla essence and sugar or alternatively cocoa powder and sugar. A little splash of soy milk can be added to make it more fluffy if desired.
Do not forget, nuts and seeds. This is also a great fat source that also packs a good protein punch. So all our dovi (peanut butter) dishes are great for this. Roasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds also make a tasty snack when removed from their shells. If you are in the diaspora take advantage of an even wider selection of nuts and seeds available on their own or included in healthy trail mixes.
We hope you can use at least a couple of the tips we shared this week to stay warm and feel lighter even in the winter.
*For those of you in Australia, don’t forget to register for any of the races in the Melbourne Marathon Festival on 13 October 2013. Register here to run and support marginalized cancer patients in Zimbabwe!