Winter is here and that means shorter days, colder temperatures, and less motivation to get up and go! Eating well over the winter months is so important for your immunity, physical and mental health. Your immune system is a complex thing to be nurtured all year round- but particularly when you are cold and exposed to lots of different bugs. Eating enough fruit, vegetables, good fats, and high quality protein is an excellent way to look after your immunity this winter and ward off sickness! Limited sunshine hours means we are not absorbing as much Vitamin D (aka “feel good stuff”) so our moods tend to be a bit lower on these overcast days- let food be thy medicine along with a consistent exercise regimen.
Here are our top tips to “nourish” your body and soul through the winter:
1. Slow cooker
Slow cookers are a life-changing kitchen tool that should be used as much as possible! You can cook almost anything in your slow cooker- from soups to roasts to a hearty winter casserole. Get your non- perishables chopped up and ready to go the night before then simply add your meat in the morning for a day full of less stress and delicious aromas!
2. Meal prep
With the shortest day fast approaching- it is dark so early and our body clocks are telling us to hit the hay ASAP. Being a HUGE fan of sleep- I love this aspect of winter! However, I also love the idea of prepping your lunch (and even your breakfast too) in advance. This means that in the morning when you are snoozing your alarm to the point of no return, you can do so whilst knowing that your motivated-self has pre-prepared your breakfast and lunch for the day. All you have to do is grab it on your way to work! This allows you to say hello to home made goodness and another hello to a healthy bank account without the extra spending on lunches throughout the week!
3. Shop for the whole week
There is nothing worse than finishing work and realising that you don’t have anything at home for dinner. So often this is the turning point where the supermarket carpark seems a nightmare and takeaways seem so desirable. I always ALWAYS recommend writing yourself a weekly meal planner so that you know exactly what you are having and what ingredients you need. Do your shop on the weekend so that your whole week is sorted for all meals (breakfast/ lunches/ dinners). This means that your evenings are free from the chaos of the supermarket!
Most New Zealanders do not eat enough vegetables. The recommendation just for baseline health is 3 serves every day. This equates to ½ cup of salad on your sandwich, 1 carrot, and ½ cup broccoli at dinner- not very much! For optimal health- we should be aiming for above and beyond this- the more the far more merrier! There is a great study showing us that for every additional serve of vegetables beyond 5 each day- there is a 5% reduction in early risk of mortality. This is ground breaking stuff! Vegetables can be added into a lot of your every day meals- put a handful of frozen s
pinach (way cheaper than fresh) in your morning smoothie, throw some diced carrot and pumpkin into a casserole, and add some chopped carrot and cucumber or cherry tomatoes into your lunchbox. Non- starchy veg will fill up your tummy and of course protect that precious immunity.
If you are struggling for meal ideas this winter- check out our cooking classes! We will equip you with all of the recipes, practical ideas and solutions to all of your healthy eating barriers!