Diet & Nutrition

Five secrets to staying slim this winter

It's common to see a few kilos creep on in winter. Not only does the cold weather cut down your outdoor exercise, but you suddenly feel hungrier and crave more comfort foods. So it's not surprising to see, come spring, that there's more work to do than simply bringing out your summer wardrobe.
The problem with gradual weight gain over winter is that many people will not lose this extra padding in the summer. Instead, the extra kilogram or more you gained will become a permanent fixture, year after year.
So here are five fast tips to help keep your healthy weight on track:
Slurp on soup
Research shows that incorporating a low energy density soup, like a vegetable based minestrone with no added cream or fats, regularly into your diet can give your weight loss an edge. Vegetable soups are the perfect winter warmer and will help fill you up without filling you out.
Switch this for that
You don't have to give up the idea of comfort food altogether, just make some smart switches so that you can still have your dessert and eat it too. For example, use a low fat vanilla yogurt instead of double cream to top poached apples and cinnamon.
Go for magic beans
Legumes and pulses are another great winter warmer. They are high in dietary fibre, low in fat and packed with beneficial nutrients and antioxidants. Try substituting 1/3 of the meat in a casserole or meat recipe with legumes and you'll be right on the pulse by lowering the kilojoule content of the meal. Chickpeas go great with Moroccan lamb and kidney beans are a match for spaghetti bolognaise.
Sip on chocolate
There are some great low kilojoule hot chocolate drinks around or you can make your own with skim milk and cocoa. Enjoying a healthier hot chocolate drink in the afternoon is one way to blast those chocolate cravings away and warm from within.
Move it indoors
Finally, don't forget that physical activity is the other important half of the weight loss success story. If you know you're not going to face a power walk on a cold morning you need a smart strategy at the beginning of the cold weather. Take out a short term gym membership and move inside. Or check out your local pool for aqua aerobics or deep water running classes.

Your say: How do you keep your weight in check over the winter months?

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