I live in Connecticut where winter is still rearing its ugly head with such full force it feels like we may never see a warm sunny day. If you live anywhere south of here (and I hope you do!) these tips might not apply to you – you can walk outside without the danger of black ice and you might even have greens popping up in your garden. Lucky you, I can’t even see my garden because of all the snow and my snow boots have replaced my sneakers as outdoor walking wear.
I don’t know about you but by the time we hit the end of February, the thought of cooking another spaghetti squash or braised anything starts to lose its appeal. I am dreaming of grilling and eating outside – if only I could unbury my grill.
February and March feel like seasonal limbo with our food, which can be a bit scary if you are trying to lose weight or stay healthy. Rockstar meal planning is always a key to success, but if we are stuck on what to cook, we suddenly might find ourselves calling 1-800-pizza for assistance.
So what do we do to survive the next few weeks until the warm weather inspiration comes? Here are three tips to get you through.
Make Friends With Your Freezer
Freezer, meet future stress-free dinners. If cooking just feels like such a drag right now and inspiration is nowhere to be found, hopefully, you have used your freezer to store extra soups and casseroles. I know today is going to be a busy day for me, so this morning I took out three different soups to have for dinner tonight, a soup smorgasbord! Everyone in my family can pick which soup they want, or try a little of each. I will make a fresh arugula salad and some homemade sourdough bread to go with it (not as hard as you think!). If you are not prepared, make a soup tonight and double it. Put half of it in the freezer – you will thank yourself next week.
Start Up Your Blender
When winter is in full swing the thought of a green mango and spinach smoothie is as unappealing to me as another snow storm. But making smoothies is a perfect way to get a lot of filling nutrition in a glass – a key to weight loss and increased energy. In the winter, I modify my smoothies. I use pumpkin (high in fiber in vitamin A), warming spices such as cinnamon and cardamon, avocados (good fats!), and even oatmeal (great filling fiber). Try this pumpkin smoothie or this chocolate banana oatmeal smoothie for a different twist on the smoothie. If you are craving something sweet, which we often do in the winter, these two smoothies will do the trick.
I know it’s freezing, believe me, I know. And I know that I have the excuse of a very active golden retriever who could care less about my feelings of wanting to stay inside. But you need to get outside, even for 30 minutes. You need it for your mental well-being and if you suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) you especially need it. Studies have shown that being outside and connecting to nature has a profound impact on stress levels. Stress and your increasing cortisol levels (the stress hormone) are directly linked to holding onto extra weight. Breathing fresh air, looking at the sky, and hearing the winter birds always puts me in a better mood. I wrote about stress and weight gain a while back. Click HERE to read that post.
How do you get yourself through winter? Are there any tips you have for managing your weight, your stress, or your health in the cold months?