Eat Right This Winter
When the days are short, and the road conditions often make the workouts you planned impossible, it’s tough to keep your fitness goals on track and your weight in check. Here are four steps you can take to maintain your racing weight this winter.
1. Stop the after-dinner snacking. Mounting research is showing that the calories consumed during in the evening can derail the diet more than calories consumed earlier in the day. Plus, it drives up the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes. A study published in the May 2015 issue of the International Journal of Obesity found that people who ate their major meals after 4:30 p.m. burned fewer calories while resting and digesting their food than when they ate their meal at 1 p.m. Plus, it could throw off the brain. A study published in the December 2015 issue of eLife showed that eating during the time that you should be sleeping can affect learning and memory. So close the kitchen after dinner, and opt for a calorie-free form of decompression: take a shower, watch a movie, read a book, or hit the hay early so you can more easily rise for an early-morning workout.
2. Eat whole foods. In the winter, it’s extra important that you fuel up with high-quality foods that will give you the energy you need to workout well, and stave off coughs, colds, and other bugs that can proliferate in the winter, and threaten to derail your running. Steel-cut oats contain a myriad of nutrients to keep you healthy, including protein, iron, calcium, and folate. Oats have fiber to help prevent heart disease, plus they include beta glucan to help lower cholesterol. EAt an orange; it has 100% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C to help ward off upper respiratory infections. Cruciferous veggies like broccoli and brussel sprouts are rich in immune-boosting nutrients like folic acid, vitamin A and C. Cranberries are rich in fiber that fills you up and has disease-fighting nutrients that prevent infections. Kale is packed with calcium, iron, and potassium, plus vitamins A, C, and K. Pomegranates are rich in inflammation-fighting antioxidants, to help you fight off coughs and colds. Omega 3 Fatty Acids fight inflammation. You can find EPA, DHA, and ALA in foods like cod, halibut, salmon, enriched eggs, flaxseeds, walnuts, and canola oil.
3. Drink up. Don’t forget to hydrate. Without the heat of the sun, it’s easy to let hydration fall by the wayside. But thirst can cause a feeling a fatigue heading into workouts, and it can be mistaken for hunger. Staying hydrated throughout the day by consuming half your body weight in calorie-free fluids. That is, if you weigh 150 pounds, aim for 75 ounces of water per day. If you weigh 130 pounds, aim for 65 ounces per day.
4. Have some soup. Research shows that if you sip soup before a meal, you’ll eat less. A 2007 study from researchers from Pennsylvania State University found that when soup was eaten before lunch, participants ate 20 percent fewer calories than when they did not eat soup. Ingredients like lentils and black beans provide filling protein and fiber, to keep hunger at bay plus essential folate and B vitamins. Chickpeas help you feel fuller by providing fiber. If you’re opting for a store-bought variety, be sure to read the label and stick with varieties with 50 milligrams of sodium or less per one-cup serving.