Winning Winter Nutrition

Love it or hate it, winter is here. As the temperature drops and snow falls, diets and activities change. Shorter days and a decrease in sunshine may contribute to lower energy levels and a decreased sense of wellness. Don’t ever let the winter blues get you down. Nutrition can help fortify your health and wellbeing during the winter months. 

Don’t miss out on Vitamin D

Known as the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D plays an essential role in bone health, enhancing immunity, fighting fatigue, and preventing depression. During the winter months, vitamin D levels tend to drop as people spend less time outside and lower sun exposure. 

Foods that contain vitamin D include fatty fish like salmon, canned tuna, sardines and yes, cod liver oil. Mushrooms and egg yoks are also good sources of vitamin D, as well as fortified milk and other fortified foods. It is a good idea to have your vitamin levels checked. Your doctor may recommend a vitamin D supplement if needed.

Get some vitamin D from this Honey Salmon recipe. Basted with a sweet honey lemon glaze, this salmon is paired with sauteed turnips and onions. 

Warm up with this Mushroom Soup and enjoy this aromatic vegetarian soup for a dose of the sunshine vitamin.

Keep Hydrated

Maintaining proper hydration helps to regulate body temperature, stay warm and better tolerate cold temperatures outside. Since we tend to drink less in the winter, it is important to try to stay well hydrated in the winter. Drink water, sip on a hot cup of tea or enjoy a hot bowl of soup. It’s all fluid. General recommendations are to drink 0.5 to 1 oz. of fluid multiplied by your body weight in pounds per day. 

Warm up with a hot cup of hot cocoa or tea on a cold winter night. Sip on some warm broth or enjoy a bowl of chicken noodle soup for some extra hydration. 

Enjoy Root Vegetables

Root vegetables are plentiful in the winter months and loaded with nutrition. Root vegetables can transform soups into a rich meal or take casseroles to the next level. Favorite root veggies like potatoes, carrots and onions contribute to meals on a regular basis. Step out of your comfort zone and explore less popular, but equally delicious root veggies like parsnips, rutabaga, turnips, and beets. 

For a simple side dish, roast an array of vegetables. This Roasted Vegetable recipe [LINK] includes carrots, turnips, potatoes and onions along with brussels sprouts. 

This tasty Beet Dip is bursting with color and can be a perfect addition to a party tray for the next football game. 

Eat the Color of the Rainbow

For a variety of nutrients, it is important to consume foods from all the different food groups. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, the color of a plant food is related to the phytonutrient content. Because each phytonutrient provides different health benefits, eating a variety of colorful vegetables contributes to a healthful diet. 

This classic roasted vegetable Ratatouille is quite colorful with eggplant, tomatoes sauce and red peppers. Leftovers can readily be incorporated into salads or grain bowls. 

Cauliflower Stir Fry is a quick and light side to any meal.

Warm up with a bowl of hearty Vegetable Soup. Set up the crock pot early for a worry-free easy dinner.

Keep Moving – even in the cold weather.

Keeping active is key to weight management and supporting a positive mood. Don’t become a couch potato just because it is cold outside. You don’t always have to go to the gym or hop on home exercise equipment. Check out some of the exercise aps or find a yoga class on TV. Take a brisk walk outside or spend the afternoon wandering around a museum. Get physical conquering a home project like reorganizing the basement or cleaning the carpets. 

Say goodbye to the winter blues with nutrition and exercise – the dynamic duo. Go for it!

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