Do you feel more tired during winter? As days get longer, colder gets sharper, and sun exposure reduces, it’s only natural to want to feel tired and want to stay in bed longer. But did you know that what you eat can impact your mood and overall mental well-being and help you get through all those days you feel sluggish?
There is more to eating healthy than maintaining your body in shape; healthy eating also plays a crucial role in maintaining your mental health. So make sure you know the foods that can boost your energy levels and support your mood to put a new tool to combat down days.
Why is choosing seasonal foods better for you?
Seasonal eating means consuming only fruits and vegetables that are in the seasons for the geographic area you live in. This means eating apples and figs in the fall, grapefruit, lemons and oranges in the winter, avocados and mangos in the spring, tomatoes and berries in the summer, and so on.
In the days before science, you could only eat the fresh produce of the season when it grew best, since produce relied on weather and other natural conditions to grow. Today, you can find pretty much any fruit or vegetable you want, no matter what time of year it is. Unfortunately, it is not as healthy as eating seasonal produce.
Seasonal foods are fresher and have higher nutritional value because they are picked at their peak ripeness. They contain more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants compared to produce that is picked early and artificially ripened during transportation.
Eating a variety of seasonal foods also allows you to diversify your diet, providing a range of different vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. By not taking the same nutrients while lacking, you help sustain energy and overall good health. Let’s explore some of the seasonal foods that can play a significant role in boosting your energy levels naturally.
Seasonal foods to eat during winter
As winter approaches, our bodies naturally crave warmth, more energy and comfort. Why not turn to nature’s bounty instead of coffee or energy drinks for a natural boost?
Make root vegetables a part of your diet
We’re rooting for root vegetables! These hearty vegetables grow underground and are harvested during the winter months. Roots are some of the most nutrient-dense vegetables around. They are a good source of several vitamins, iron, and fibres, and they’re packed with disease-fighting antioxidants.
Carrots, onions, and potatoes are the most popular vegetables in this category, which also include beets, celery root, parsnips, radishes, and turnips. Incorporate these easy-to-cook, tasty and affordable vegetables into soups and stews, or roast them to create the most comforting meals that will keep you fueled.
Embrace winter greens
Tasty leafy vegetables thrive in the winter months. Who doesn’t love spinach and kale? These winter greens contribute to better energy levels by supporting red blood cell production and enhancing oxygen transport in the body.
Varieties such as lettuce, cabbage, and broccoli are packed with nutrients like iron, calcium, and vitamins A and K. They make great salads, stir-fries, and energy-boosting smoothies.
Enjoy seasonal fruits
Winter is the right time for citrus fruits such as grapefruits, mandarines, clementines and, of course, oranges. They are rich in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that boosts immunity and improves iron absorption to support energy production.
Also, apples, apricots, blueberries and pears are a natural source of energy through their natural sugars and fibre content. Treat yourself to a snack or add them to baked goods for a healthy and tasty treat. These fruits are also low in calories, making them a great snack for those looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Relish in nuts and seeds
Walnuts, chestnuts, and pumpkin seeds provide healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals. They are also high in fibre and can help lower cholesterol levels. Nuts and seeds are also portable and can easily be added to snacks and breakfast meals to keep you feeling full and focused throughout the day.
Increase your intake of fish, eggs and cheese
Eggs, cheese, and fish fill your meal pack with vitamin B12, which boosts the normal functioning of the immune system and reduces fatigue and tiredness. By incorporating these items into your meals, you not only diversify your nutrient intake but also fortify your body against the winter’s taxing effects, promoting overall vitality and well-being.
Don’t forget your whole grains
Maintaining energy levels requires whole grains like quinoa, barley, brown rice, and oats. In addition to being rich in complex carbohydrates, they are also a good source of energy for the body. Besides fibre and vitamins, these grains also contain minerals and fibre that contribute to overall health and energy. For lasting energy and a healthy metabolism, include whole grains as a base or side dish in your meals.
What to incorporate and what to take out of your winter diet
Incorporating seasonal produce is important, but it is equally important to be mindful of certain dietary choices that might not be as beneficial during this time. It is also a great idea to try ingredients in new ways, combining unique flavours and straying from the usual recipes. So what do you need to incorporate and what should you take out of your diet in winter?
Avoid sugar and caffeine
We all love desserts and coffee, and when the cold makes us hungrier, we’re just looking for something tasty and accessible to eat to refuel. Yet, pastries, candy and coffee put too much sugar into your blood too quickly- which means that all the energy sugar is giving you it’s just for a short while. Then you get hungry again.
So try switching your favourite chocolate bar for an apple. Healthy fats, natural sugar, and protein low in sugar take longer to digest, satisfy your hunger, and provide a steady energy supply.
Say no to cold drinks and fruit juices
Sodas like Cola or Sprite can lower the body’s defence system as it takes a lot more energy for the body to bring the temperature of the cold drink down to the body temperature. As a result, your body weakens and becomes prone to diseases. The same goes for fruit juices. Although they are healthy, they are not a good choice during winter, especially if they’re cold. So instead of cold drinks, sodas and juices, try a warm smoothie that will refresh you and keep you energised.
Cook comfort soups
Soups are magic. They are not just the ultimate comfort food, but they have far more benefits than you can imagine, and they are all backed by science. For starters, eating soup increases your energy levels as your body doesn’t consume energy for digestion. Studies have also shown that when eating soup, you reduce hunger and increase fullness as fibres increase feelings of satiety by delaying the stomach from emptying.
Yet, the best about soups is that they are not boring at all. They are nutritious and tasty, especially when prepared with many ingredients. Winter is the best time to make that easy butternut squash soup, turkey pho or creamy vegetable chowder. You can also grab the opportunity to use up odd bits of leftover beans and vegetables in the refrigerator.
Make a smoothie
A warming, energising and nutrient-packed way to kickstart your day during the winter is with a smoothie. Pick your favourite seasonal ingredients and create your very own perfect smoothie.
Blend orange and carrot juice with a bit of spinach, ginger, honey and turmeric to create the ultimate energy smoothie. Create the ultimate yummy smoothie by blending spinach, apples and nutmeg. You can also add some chia seeds for extra crunch and a boost of nutrition. Experiment with different ingredients and flavours to find the perfect smoothie for you.
Winternise your meals
You don’t have to stray away from your favourite meals to eat healthy. You can simply winterise them by adding a few winter ingredients to your favourite dishes. From ginger spice to spinach and kale to citrus fruits and chestnuts, get in the kitchen and get creative. Try unfamiliar seasonal foods like Jerusalem artichokes, rutabaga and kohlrabi. You might discover a new favourite or find a new way to prepare an old favourite.
Try food supplements
If you’re leading a busy life and you don’t have time to cook, you can try food supplements such as Ashwagandha capsules to increase your intake of vitamin C and Vitamin B6 to help the body access stored energy.
You can also consult a healthcare professional who can advise on which supplements you can take for maximum benefit or whether it’s best to follow a different route. For quicker results, they may recommend Vitamin B6 and C injections, which offer a direct and immediate means of replenishing your nutrient levels.
Embrace seasonal foods and stay true to them
Changing your eating habits is challenging. We know. But it’s worth it. Start with small steps and create a diet with ingredients and recipes that you love. Don’t force yourself to eat things. Remember, it takes time to change your eating habits, but in the end, it pays off.
If you’ve enjoyed this blog post and you want to learn more about remaining energised and healthy, we suggest visiting our blog section for more interesting stories. You can contact us with any questions you might have, and we’ll be happy to assist you.