Winter Weather Nutrition

If I surveyed a group of people, none (or a very, very few) of them would report that they like to think of calories in connection to how much they move. As a food lover, I totally get it…food is fabulous. But here’s the thing: There are the times when we just enjoy food for the pleasurable part of our life that it is and savor flavor without curiosity of how that flavor came to be. We don’t have a choice, however, but to consider how our food choices impact our health and overall wellness. To that point, our calories, as well as our intake of negative attributes like saturated fat and sodium, matter. So while it may be lovely to gather with friends for a rich meal of flavors, we need to think about how often we can indulge like this.

Poblano Chili with Avocado Cream is a smart comfort food to indulge in.

For some people, the winter brings a unique additional factor to this conversation. After all, if you look forward to a morning run in the warmer months, what are you doing these days when you wake to a freezing cold temps? Likewise, if you count “yard work” as activity, do you also shovel when the snow piles up? The bottom line is that if the cold weather essentially has you “frozen” then you simply don’t require as much energy (i.e., calories) as you do during warmer months. A few things to keep in mind…

Be active…get out there!

I’ll admit that as a winter weather lover I’m biased here, but I truly believe that if you want to enjoy and not just endure the winter, you need to get out there! Free activities such as snowshoeing and hiking are not only a great way to exercise, they also allow you to enjoy the serene scene that only a winter day can create. With enough layers you won’t be cold… in fact you’ll probably be warmer than you think once you get going.

If you prefer to be indoors…

So maybe you really don’t want to go outside. There is plenty of exercise to do indoors. Consider joining a gym (even if only from November-April), or use this time to join a studio and try an activity that you may be curious about such as martial arts, pilates, yoga or spinning. There are also many exercises you can do at home. A quick search on YouTube and you will have several options at your fingertips.

Cozy up without over doing it.

Food brings comfort, but it doesn’t have to be decadent to achieve this. Give these recipes a try…

Cold weather bonus!

Shivering burns calories. Yup…you read that right. The process of keeping warm boosts your body’s energy output (so maybe you should stop trying to win the “temperature war” at home or your office). How does this happen? Basically when you shiver, your body works to maintain your core temperature and burns calories along the way. While I don’t think this is an excuse to indulge, it does make waiting at the bus stop in the freezing cold almost worth it.