Get Fitter this Winter
We all look forward to winter because it gives us immense relief from the scorching heat.
During this season your appetite generally goes up and you end up eating that extra slice of pizza, extra piece of bread or that extra donut.
Choose your white foods carefully
It is tempting to reach for comforting "white" carbohydrate foods in winter such as cakes, cookies, white pasta, rice and breads.
These refined foods promote weight gain as they are digested quickly and cause your blood-sugar and insulin levels to spike. Making the switch to wholesome wholegrain varieties will help you maintain a healthy weight and keep you full for longer, as they are rich in fibre and help keep your blood-sugar levels balanced. Nutritious wholegrain choices include whole oats, quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, wholegrain pasta and grainy breads.
Other "white" foods to avoid include cream, butter and cheese – they are heavy on calories and rich in saturated fats. Instead, go for dishes made with antioxidant-rich tomato or vegetable-based sauces.
Drink two liters of water a day
We often forget to keep our water intake up during winter, yet it is important to drink plenty of water all year round for good health.
Don't forget air conditioning and heaters can be very dehydrating.
Try to drink at least two liters a day. Herbal teas count too. There are many wonderful health-promoting teas to choose from such as ginger (great for improving circulation), green (a powerful antioxidant and can help promote weight loss), rosehip (rich in vitamin C), peppermint (good for digestion) and chamomile (helps calm your nerves).
Eat protein with every meal
One of the best ways to maintain a healthy weight is to eat good-quality, low-fat protein at each meal. Protein foods have a low GI and help to stabilise blood-sugar levels, which in turn will help curb sugar cravings and prevent you snacking on sugary carbohydrate foods. A good guide is to keep protein servings to the size and thickness of your palm. Some healthy protein choices include nuts, seeds, legumes (and legume-based foods such as hummus), eggs, fish, lean meat, chicken, low-fat dairy and soy products. Protein foods also help to create a feeling of fullness, preventing you from overeating.
Fill half your plate with fruit and veg
At least half of your diet should be made up of fresh fruit and vegetables (including legumes). Fruit and vegetables are an excellent source of important vitamins and minerals including vitamins A and C, folate, iron and calcium.
Purple, red and orange varieties are particularly high in potent health-promoting antioxidants. However, if you are watching your waistline, don't overdo higher-GI vegies such as potato, sweet potato and pumpkin.
Aim to have about three pieces of fruit a day. Try adding fruit to your porridge, and make stewed fruit to have with muesli or natural yoghurt in the morning.
Start your dinner with soup
Have a small bowl of low-calorie soup before your main meal to help manage your weight.
The trick to staying healthy and fit doesn't lie in eating less but in burning that extra bit that you eat. You shouldn't go on crash diets or say no to any specific fruit or meal thinking that it has high calories or it's too sweet. People generally tend to say no to mangoes and bananas for the simple fact that fruits with a high sugar concentration are highest in calories. The human body needs minerals, vitamins and proteins.