top of page

Cold Weather Eating and Moving

Updated: Aug 29, 2019

When it’s freezing and miserable outside most of us think of cuddling up inside with warm comforting foods. We’re thinking of soups, hot biscuits and “stick to your ribs” food to stay warm. We think of board games, books and movies as our entertainment since playing outside can be done but is often short lived depending on the temperature. It’s hibernation season after all and we are generally less active and not inclined to move much. When you’re trying to lose weight or improve your health there is no question that wintertime can work against you on those goals.

It can be challenging to be motivated to work out during the winter. It’s cold, daylight is short and we’re more than likely seeing an increase in our appetites. Our bodies are burning energy to stay warm and calling out for foods to fill that need for warmth even when we may not be actually hungry. Winter is the hardest season to start a diet and workout regime yet many of us set a New Year’s Resolution regarding our health. It’s now February, have you been successful upholding your health resolution?

Winter Eating

We have access year round to fresh vegetables and fruits yet many of us gravitate towards foods that are more seasonal. We eat more salads in the spring and summer and more root vegetables like potatoes, onions and carrots in the winter. It’s not much fun or satisfying to eat a salad in February when you can have a hot bowl of chili for instance. Lettuce just somehow looks less appetizing in the winter.

We’re eating heartier, richer foods and bigger meals during the winter months. Our bodies are naturally programmed to reach for foods that are aligned to the seasons. It’s not that we don’t crave vegetables but our cravings and tastes change with every season. Our bodies are telling us they need different things at different times of year to burn energy and stay healthy.

There is however an increase in digestive complaints like heartburn, indigestion and such during the winter because we’re eating heavy foods and not moving to burn those off as quickly as we would if it were warmer outside. Our digestive systems are more susceptible to things like heartburn because we incline or lay down more often when food hasn’t digested completely. Long term these concerns can become chronic and result in more severe conditions. It is also one of the reasons we feel more bloated and tired during the winter.

It’s important to find options in the winter that will satisfy our body’s need to feel full and warm while still including healthy foods. A couple tricks I’ve learned that seem to work include:

  1. Purchasing frozen vegetables like brussel sprouts, green beans and broccoli, that are unseasoned and applying essential oils like Rosemary, Clove, Basil and Wild Orange to introduce flavor and make the vegetables more appealing. Mixing these vegetables after they are cooked with a good olive oil and the essential oils is divine. The selection of frozen vegetables is robust and relatively inexpensive too so they are easy to obtain. Serving warm vegetables like this gives an enticing aroma and can support us getting the appropriate vegetables without sacrificing.