As the nights draw in and the mercury drops, we start reaching out for our woolly jumpers, whilst packing away our summer clothes. With these changes, our food preferences start to change too. Gone are the days when a light, salad based meal accompanied with grilled meats & fish will suffice, and in come our cravings for hearty, meaty stews and comfort food. With the days getting shorter we tend to spend more time indoors, and the time becomes available to create lengthier, sometimes more indulgent dishes.
Many of us will also notice that we want too eat more often during the colder months, with the cold temperatures making us regular visitors to the kitchen. Longer periods of darkness have a negative effect on our melatonin levels which can make us more lethargic and could see us reaching out for comfort food more often. How then can we mange food preferences as we transition from summer to winter?
Make sensible food choices
Always use seasonal fruit and vegetables to make your stews and soups. Not only are seasonal vegetables cheaper, they also add a higher nutritional content to the meals, due to their freshness. Keep skin on for additional nutrients and fibre, which will help you to feel fuller for longer and support good digestion.
Opt for seasonal fruit such as blackberries, pears, satsuma’s and clementine’s. A great source of vitamin C to help ward off infections and colds during the winter months.
Bulk out your dishes by adding pulses such as lentils, chickpeas and butter beans. These are good sources of protein and iron.
Serve stews & casseroles with low GI carbohydrates such as quinoa, brown rice, wild rice and sweet potato, these release slow burning energy to keep you going.
Bring out the oats
Start your day right with a bowl of porridge topped with seasonal stewed fruit and nuts. Oats contain beta-glucan, which can help towards satiety and provide great benefits to the immune system. Stewing fruits in honey and cinnamon ensure you’re getting a nice dose of vitamins to get you through the day.
Use the compote to drizzle on yogurt and top with nuts & seeds, for a quick snack.
Batch cook your meals
Take time at the weekend to make a big batch of stew or soup that you can portion up and keep in the fridge or freezer for the week ahead. This will ensure you have a nutritious meal ready to go when you get home on a cold winter evening. Thereby reducing the risk of reaching for something less nourishing in your search for a quick midweek meal.
Use a small plate
Colder months tend to make us eat more. In order to keep on track of this, use smaller plates when eating your meals. You can still tuck into that hearty stew. However by using a smaller plate it means that there is no temptation of overeating or over filling your plate. Ensure that it’s a balanced plate to. With the majority of the plate consisting of vegetables with a portion of grains and protein.