Here’s how to have a healthy winter, according to a dietitian

Tips to get through winter without the added weight gain.

Did you know that 53% of men and 38% of women will gain 5 kilos this winter? During the colder months, it’s easy to turn to comfort foods, which often come in the form of hot carbs like Mac n’ Cheese and mashed potato or takeaway curries. However, eating too many of these comfort foods, combined with little exercise, can result in weight gain. Lite n’ Easy dietitian Ashleigh Jones shares her tips to keep yourself healthy this winter.

1. Get the right balance

It’s vital to balance meals in terms of protein, fats and carbohydrates – having the correct mix of these macro-nutrients will help to prevent overeating and increase satiety. Aim to have a protein source such as eggs, chicken, yoghurt, lamb, fish, tofu, legumes, nuts and seeds at each meal and snack to keep your appetite under control. It’s essential to use the right types of fats, too. Healthy fats are a great way to increase satiety and make a dish feel more comforting. Get the balance right by using extra virgin olive oil, avocados, tahini paste, nuts and seeds. Be mindful of excess refined carbohydrates. A lot of warming and comfort foods are carbohydrate-dense, so if you’re not very active, stick to one-quarter plate of carbohydrates at each meal. Try to make sure that your carbs are from whole grain or low GI sources such a brown rice, barley, quinoa, multigrain bread or sweet potatoes.


2. Focus on fibre

Fibre is a super nutrient! It helps to keep us full, feeds our gut microbiome and keeps our bowels functioning optimally – things we need even more so when we’re less active and craving more food during winter. Aim for at least 25-30 grams of fibre daily. Fibre-rich foods include fruit, veggies, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds.


3. Up your veggies

Increasing your veggie intake doesn’t have to mean eating a bowl of steamed broccoli for dinner. It’s about cooking a variety of veggies in different ways and combinations. Think hearty vegetable soups, casseroles or slow-cooked meals with tonnes of vegetables! It’s not necessary to completely forgo your favourite comfort foods such as a creamy pasta. Instead, keep portions small and add in extra veg.


4. Move your body

Yes, it can be hard to go out into the cold and go for a run, but there are countless other ways to exercise and move your body in comfort. Try yoga at home in your pyjamas or Pilates in front of the heater/TV. Aim to prioritise movement – schedule it in as a necessary part of your day. Exercise is important for good mental health, as well as keeping those extra kilos off!


5. Get some sunlight!

Research suggests that approximately one in four Australian adults are vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D is a hormone that controls calcium levels in the blood. It’s required for strong bones, muscles and overall health. Studies also show that it’s important for our mental health. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is necessary for the production of vitamin D in the skin and is the best natural source of vitamin D.

There are small amounts of vitamin D in some foods such as fatty fish, eggs, margarine and some fortified milks, but it is difficult to obtain enough vitamin D from diet alone. Most people only get five to 10 per cent of their vitamin D from food. During the winter months, the days are shorter, and the UV index is lower which means it can be challenging to get your vitamin D fix. But it’s not impossible.  Aim for 20-25 minutes of sensible sun exposure each day – outside of peak UV times, and with appropriate sun protection. Go for a walk, do some gardening or sit in the park and read a book. Not only with this help to up your vitamin D levels, but it’s also good for your mental health!


6. Keep hydrated

Water is something we can forget about over the colder months as we move and sweat less, but drinking enough water is just as important in winter as it is during summer. Aim for 8-10 glasses each day. Herbal teas are also a great way of keeping warm and hydrated at the same time!


Why Lite n’ Easy?

With winter now upon us, our health and well-being are likely to be tested even more. It’s why our dietitians and chefs have created the new Winter Menu with your well-being in mind. Lite n’ Easy’s new Winter Well-being Menu, features a range of wholesome meals, all packed full of nutrients to help protect your immune system and manage your weight through the colder weeks ahead. So, whether you’re using Lite n’ Easy to lose weight or, to simply feel well and enjoy more free time, we hope you love the new Winter Well-being Menu. Give us a call on 13 15 12 or click here to order now.


Ashleigh Jones is an Accredited Practising Dietitian with extensive dietetics experience working across hospitals, corporate health, private practice and the food industry. A published researcher, she has collaborated actively across several disciplines including genetics, multiple sclerosis and sports nutrition.  Ashleigh specialises in endocrine disorders with particular interest in weight management, pituitary and thyroid disorders, and management of diabetes. Ashleigh is passionate about promoting healthy habits, especially for busy people and offers simple and sustainable nutrition solutions.