Alexandra Tully - Palmerston North Dietitian - Palmerston North Cooking Classes, NZ

How to beat the winter blues!

July 11, 2018

 

 

 

1. Exercise

 

Exercising when it's dark and cold outside can be tough! But still so important for your physical and mental health. If jogging in the cold doesn't sound appealing, join a gym and train in a music-fueled fun environment, find a walking or running buddy and meet at a set time to churn through some steps together, or have a look at gym classes and other group fitness options like aqua aerobics or yoga. Just know that the early morning wake up is so worth it when you arrive at work refreshed with your exercise already ticked off for the day!

 

2. Let food be thy medicine

 

If you are fueling your body with sufficient nutrients, this is a sure way to help improve immunity over winter. You should be having a minimum of 3 serves of veg each day (1 serving = 1 carrot, 1 tomato that fits into your hand, 1 cup leafy veg). Vegetables are packed full of nutrients like vitamin C and zinc to help support wellness through winter. Aim for 2-3 handfuls of fruit each day and include some fish in your diet every week (canned tuna and salmon are great). Nuts and seeds are great mood boosting foods and provide us with some good fats for fullness- add these to your winter porridge or include as a snack for that 3pm slump.

 

3. Sleep

 

Most adults do not get enough sleep and put this down to a normal part of the aging process. But not sleeping is not normal! Without enough sleep our stress hormones are elevated, appetite increased, and mood deflated. Adults need 8-9 hours sleep every night so if you are not getting this then take a look at your routine and habits you may have created. Caffeine too late in the afternoon, lack of exercise, and screen time too close to bed can all impact on your sleep quality.

 

4. Hydrate

 

Often the last thing we feel like doing on a cold day is drinking a glass of cold water. Dehydration can show in the form of fatigue, irritability, hunger, poor cognition, and many others that are debilitating to a productive day. If you struggle with drinking water then take a thermal flask to work or on long trips and sip on fruity tea or hot water with lemon. Monitor the colour of your urine and aim for a pale yellow colour. If your pee is dark (normal for first thing in the morning) then this indicates dehydration. 

 

5. Be prepared

 

With shorter, colder days it is so tempting to bypass the supermarket trip on the way home and go for easy, convenient foods for dinner instead. Over winter it is helpful to shop on the weekend and buy enough groceries to provide breakfast, lunches, and dinners for the whole week. This is not as hard as it sounds given that most of us eat the same thing for breakfast every day and lunches can be as simple as grainy sandwiches with salad and leftover meat, a tin of soup with grainy toast, or leftover roast veggies with some spinach and lentils thrown through them. Plan what you are having for dinner each night in advance and always keep some extra tinned tomatoes, lentils, and frozen veg on hand!

 

 

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