Now that we’re getting into cooler weather, a lot of folks – myself included tend to slow down and maybe even pause their workout or health routine when it gets cold. But I have a special guest today who has some tips we can use to keep a beach body during sweater season.
The weather’s starting to turn colder, shops are full of scarves and boots, and your favorite coffee shop has at least three “pumpkin” drinks on the menu. For many people, fall signals the beginning of pies, stews and all manner of comfort food. The motivation of a “beach body” is replaced by the comfort of bulkier clothing.
However, it still important to make good food choices during the fall because a healthy lifestyle is about more than just appearance. It’s about choosing nutritious foods so you look and feel your best, and give your body the fuel it needs to stay healthy and active. It’s especially important to maintain good food habits in fall to prepare for the holiday season where most people bend the rules a bit. Here are several health and nutrition tips for staying healthy and trim during fall.
Take Advantage of Seasonal Produce
Many vegetables come into season in fall and winter, along with a few fruits as well. Enjoy an abundance of apples and pears, along with exotic fruits such as persimmons and pomegranates. There are also numerous vegetables that are extremely nutritious and easy to cook. Pumpkins aren’t the only type of squash harvested in fall: acorn, butternut, delicata and spaghetti squash are just a few of the many varieties available. Sweet potatoes and Brussel sprouts are also abundant in fall, so you can enjoy these nutritional powerhouses all season without waiting for the holidays.
Make Soup a Regular Feature
As the weather gets colder, most people gravitate toward warmer comfort food rather than salads and smoothies. You can still get all the nutrition of a loaded salad in a fall-friendly package with soup. Forget the condensed varieties loaded with sodium and preservatives and make your own soup from scratch! Soup is extremely easy to make, and once you feel comfortable with a couple recipes, you can start making your own modification easily. Take advantage of that fall produce by making soups with butternut squash, apples or sweet potatoes. Winter minestrone is another delicious option full of healthy ingredients.
Find a Flexible Exercise Routine
If you spent all summer biking and trail running, you may have to choose some different workouts if you live where fall and winter are full of snow. Consider joining a gym for the treadmills and spin classes, or take the opportunity to do something different such as swimming laps or taking a yoga class. You could also embrace the winter weather and learn to snowshoe or cross-country ski.
It’s easy to remember to drink water often when it’s hot outside, but many people gravitate toward hot drinks when the weather is chilly. The problem is that tea and coffee don’t really hydrate, as the caffeine in them is a diuretic. Choose decaf coffee or herbal tea if possible. You can also get your daily water in by drinking hot water with lemon rather than ice water if you prefer a warm beverage.
No matter the season, it’s important to make smart food choices, including the pre-made foods you buy at the store. Even if you don’t love cooking, you can make healthy sandwiches and sides with some of that fall produce. The key is choosing pre-made dressings and condiments that contain nutritious ingredients rather than artificial chemicals. Dressings, mayo and baking mixes from HamptonCreek are healthy and nutritious, and easy to find in your normal grocery store.
Find Comfort Food Compromises
Is fall the time you indulge in heavy, comforting foods full of butter and cheese? While an occasional decadent meal is fine, eating that way often isn’t conducive to a healthy lifestyle. Try “light” versions of your favorite casseroles and stews, or substitute a healthier fat such as olive oil for butter. In many recipes, you can use milk instead of heavy cream. Try making sweet potatoes as a side dish instead of normal white potatoes. Yams are full of nutrients whereas white potatoes are mostly just starch.
It’s important to live a healthy lifestyle year-round, not just during the warm weather when your clothing shows off your body. You may have to modify your exercise routine and beverage choices to stay fit and trim. It’s also important to choose healthy meals such as soup that utilize tasty and nutritious seasonal produce. Eating a healthy diet all year not only helps with weight management, it ensures you get the right nutrients and keeps your body functioning in top form every day.