Winter is well underway and chilly nights have become our reality, bringing with it those comfort food cravings.But hold it right there! This doesn’t mean gaining that winter weight is inevitable, there are a few steps you can take to enjoy those familiar, warming meals – without going up a few sizes.
Each winter, 50% of Aussies are estimated to experience unwanted weight gain, with some even reporting jumps as high as 5kg. But we have a few tips to help you stay on track with your health and weight goals during the colder months.
Just Eat Real Food.
Or ‘JERF’ as it’s more fondly known – is an effective practise to prevent excess weight gain. This is because so many of the products lining the supermarket shelves – from so-called health foods like muesli bars and yoghurt to staples like bread – are packed with sugar, which is the biggest culprit for weight gain. If you stick to foods in their whole forms instead of processed foods, it’s a lot easier to know what’s on your plate. For instance, swapping out mixed cereals for oats or buying whole fruit instead of juices packed with added sugars.
Take a look at some of the foods to prioritise when you JERF:
- Fresh fruits and veggies: The fibre in whole produce helps the body to digest the sugars, plus the vitamin and mineral content is essential for us to function.
- Whole grains: Opt for quinoa, barley and amaranth as opposed to refined grains like white bread.
- Legumes: Chickpeas, lentils and kidney beans are just a few of the great options to add some bulk and protein to your plate.
- Beverages: Water is best, but tea and smoothies can also be a good addition if you keep the added sugars out and use whole ingredients.
- Dairy: Cheese, milk and yoghurt are all beneficial, so long as it’s in moderation.
Swap out your comfort foods.
Sugary, fried foods are often the meals of choice when we’re looking for comfort – but it doesn’t have to be this way. You can make highly nutritious comfort foods without all the consequences of excess sugar, which can include increased risk for diabetes and obesity. We know sugar is one of the lead drivers of increasing obesity rates, with studies showing a direct link between obesity and sugar. Worse still, researchers have found excess fructose can cause leptin resistance. Leptin is the hormone that tells the brain that we’re full, without it we may still feel hungry even after a sizeable meal. The result? Weight gain, obesity and even diabetes. So, opt for tasty meals low in sugar but high in taste. Warming, flavoursome dishes like curries and stir-fries make a great option that you can pack with nutritious veggies, spices and legumes. If you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth, check out the No Sugar Baking Cookbook eBook for some of your old favourites – minus the sugar.
Try this classic winter-warmer.
Winter is the time for warming, nourishing and easy-to-make foods, and oatmeal tops the list. Not only is it packed with fibre and protein for a healthy gut, it’s guaranteed to keep you fuller for longer and help keep those sugar cravings in check. You can add cocoa powder, coconut flakes, peanut butter and even ricotta cheese to take your porridge game to the next level.
Try this comforting recipe from the I Quit Sugar Healthy Breakfast Cookbook,featuring a hearty oatmeal with a spin on the classic Korean bibimbap.
Savoury Porridge Bibimbap.
1 cup whole rolled oats.
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil.
1 tablespoon tamari.
3/4 cup vegetable stock.
2 fried eggs.
1 small carrot, sliced into matchsticks.
1/2 cup finely shredded purple cabbage.
2 spring onions, finely sliced.
1 small zucchini, spiralised or cut into thin strips with a knife.
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season.
Add oats, sesame oil, tamari, stock and 1 1/4 cups of water to a medium-sized pot. Stir and cook for 6–8 minutes until the liquid has absorbed.
Take the porridge off the heat. Divide between two bowls, top each with a fried egg and distribute the carrot, cabbage, onions and zucchini evenly. Season both with salt and pepper.
If you’re keen to get a hold of more low-sugar, high-taste recipes like this one, we invite you to join us for our 8-Week Program where we’ll be kicking sugar to the curb. With meal plans and shopping lists to make the process, now’s the time to make your health goals a reality. JOIN NOW!