Brrr the cooler weather is indeed on it's way from everything I'm hearing and reading about Sydney, Melbourne, and the Sunny Coast at least. And Cairns being so far north doesn't really get too cold, but we do get a cool change every now and then and the good ol' Summer fruits don't always feel as enticing.
I've come up with a few suggestions we can all make when it comes to meal times, so we still choose to eat healthy nutritious foods, but also bring heat into our bodies when it's cold outside, preventing depletion of precious energy. Buon appetit!
Swap: Fruit smoothies to porridge
I love a thick fruit smoothie at the best of times, but putting my body through an icy cold slushie when I’m cold just doesn’t make sense. Save your smoothies for the afternoon if you can’t live without them, or make them with warm milk or water instead. In the mornings, try starting your day with a warm bowl of porridge made with quinoa, oats, brown rice or amaranth and either oat milk, almond milk, rice, quinoa or coconut milk. Topped with a few nuts or berries, some chia seeds or LSA, a sprinkle of coconut sugar, or a small dollop of yoghurt, you’ll be set and ready to go.
Porridge is full of fibre which keeps us satiated and regular – double whammy – and it’s the fibre that also helps with reducing cholesterol and heart disease. A good brekkie like this helps stabilize blood sugar levels and prevents that mindless snacking mid-morning. Eggs and sautéed green veggies are also a great winter start to your day.
Swap: Salad to stews
We need fire in our bellies to digest foods, and if it’s cold outside and we’re putting cold foods inside, we need heat somewhere to balance things out and to help with digestion. But really, who wants a salad in the middle of winter? Not me. Warming foods like stews and soups are the perfect alternative, keeping us nourished, full, whilst still being uber healthy. Also loaded up with nutrition, antioxidants, good fats, protein, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins if home made and not store bought. Soups are also super hydrating, great for the waistline, and the ginger/garlic/onion combo we all love to begin cooking with boosts our immune system, warding off any potential nasties that often come with the chilly season.
Swap: Fresh fruit to stewed fruit
We still want to get a piece or two of fruit in each day and this is a perfect way to do so. Stewing fruit the night before work or college is super quick and easy (as is doing so at brekkie time if you can) and popping it into a container to run out the door with. An added bonus with stewed fruit is of course the antioxidant-rich spices we throw in – think digestion helping and warming ginger, blood-sugar regulating cinnamon, or mood boosting vanilla. Yum! Additionally, munch on nuts and seeds, some raw choccie bits, home made crackers, or a small serving of soup.
Swap: Grilled veggies to roast veggies
Less nutrients are lost in roasting in comparison to grilling, but on top of this, they retain their warmth much longer which is exactly what we want when we’re freezing cold in the evenings. Think big fat pumpkin chunks, sweet potato rounds, caramelised onion and super soft pop-in-your-mouth-garlic. Sliced zucchini, red capsicum, eggplant halves, and deliciously warm baked potato. Add some fragrant rosemary or thyme, a little pesto sauce, coconut oil or fresh made spicy tomato relish. A meal on it’s own or add some meat, beans, eggs, fish or grain.
Swap: Iced tea to hot tea, chilled water to warm water, and everything else to hot choccie. Mmmm...
A great way to keep your fluids up when you’re not drinking cool or cold water as much is herbal teas. Herbal teas are also amazing in terms of the benefits they offer – peppermint to ease tummy troubles, chamomile to wind down, ginger to help digestion, red clover for blood circulation, dandelion for our liver, or green tea for a pick up. As for the hot choccie… make your own over café bought versions unless you know what you’re drinking (most are 90% sugar, 10% cacao). Choose rich chocolate powders with no added sugar and make on the stove top with water or a dairy/soy free milk. Add spices, a little coconut sugar or honey, and enjoy e v e r y l i t t l e s i p !
So even though the temperatures are getting cooler, there's no excuse for not eating healthy nutritious meals.
If you've got something else delicious that helps to keep you warm and your tummy full, please share it in the comments below so we can all benefit from it.
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