Anyone else already tired of the cold weather? It’s only 72 days until spring (but who’s counting?). Many people wonder if their diet should change with the drop in temperature and decreased day light that accompanies the winter months. Read on for three dietary tips that should accompany the change in seasons.
1. Remember to take your vitamin D
Vitamin D plays not only an important role in keeping our bones healthy, but also helps keep our immune system strong. We can normally make vitamin D from sunlight, but during the winter months, the sun isn’t strong enough to do this, which means we must rely on food. Vitamin D is not found in food in very high amounts. For instance, a 19-70-year-old would have to consume 6 cups of milk, 6 eggs, or 24 tsp. of margarine each day to meet their vitamin D requirements through food alone (not that I would recommend this). My suggestion, consider taking 1000 IU of vitamin D daily from October-March.
2. Watch the weight gain
Many people notice that they gain weight during the winter months. There are various reasons for this. For instance, whether we are willing to admit it or not, most people are less active in the winter. In addition, a drop-in body temperature can stimulate our appetite, causing us to eat more. Cold weather does not increase your daily calorie requirements unless you’ve become cold enough that you start to shiver. To avoid this winter weight gain, try to stick to your regular eating and exercise routine. Try enjoying some winter activities like snowshoeing, skating or cross-country skiing to make the most out of winter.
3. Enjoy in-season produce
While the winter months are associated with decreased produce availability, there are still various produce that are in season during the winter. For instance, beets, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, red onions, parsnips, rutabaga, and squash are all in season from January-March. Try making some beet hummus or squash and sweet potato soup. In-season produce not only tastes better but also has more nutritional value.
Maintaining good nutrition during the winter months will help keep you healthy year-round. Before we know it, the days will be getting longer and warmer, but in the meantime, stick to the above three tips. If you haven’t already done so, sign-up for my monthly nutrition newsletter at megankuikmanRD.ca. Scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your e-mail.