Don’t let the convergence of chilly weather, short days and flu season get you down. Try changing the way you eat and drink to combat the winter blues with these easy ideas to give you more energy from morning to night.
1. ADD SEEDS
Before braving a cold winter morning commute, eat a breakfast including healthy fat and protein to fuel you until lunchtime. Sprinkle whole chia seeds on your oatmeal: Just one tablespoon has 7 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein, along with healthy omega-3 fats to help boost your immune system.
Try making or buying a finely ground seed blend; some versions combine chia with flax and hemp.
2. MAKE A FRITTATA
Many of us are already low in vitamin D, and the dark days of winter can worsen that issue. Eggs are a good idea — especially when you select eggs labeled as high in vitamin D. (The chickens are fed with vitamin D-enriched food.) The content of an egg yolk can go from less than 40 IU to as much as 6,000 IU of vitamin D per yolk.
A veggie-packed frittata lasts several days so you don’t have to cook every morning. All that’s required is heating up a slice in the microwave.
3. INCLUDE COMPLEX CARBS
Complex carbs are satisfying, rich in fiber and flavor and an ideal source of energy for your body. This category includes ancient grains like quinoa, whole-grain bread, beans and lentils or starchy veggies such as sweet potatoes.
At lunch, combine them with protein and a bit of healthy fat: Try a grain bowl with goat cheese and roasted chunks of sweet potato or avocado toast with whole-grain bread.
4. SERVE SOUP
It’s a conundrum: You’re craving a cheeseburger or anything warm because a cold salad is the last thing you want on a freezing winter day. Since a big, greasy lunch can equal a groggy afternoon, serve yourself some soup instead.
Make a batch of healthy minestrone or spicy chili at home on Sunday night to bring in for the week. Or, pick up noodle bowls that rehydrate with boiling water, and bring extra cubed tofu or leftover rotisserie chicken from home to increase the protein quotient.
READ MORE > 5 CITRUS RECIPES TO BRIGHTEN YOUR WINTER
5. SIP A HOT BEVERAGE
A big dose of afternoon caffeine can interrupt your sleep, so try not to over-do the coffee. Staying healthy through the winter cold and flu season means making sure to get your zzz’s.
Skip the latte and try something new: Stir a tablespoon of matcha powder and a scant teaspoon of agave into hot almond milk, opt for a spicy ginger or green tea or make your own mini-cleanse drink by combining hot water with fresh lemon juice and a touch of cayenne pepper.
6. PLAN AHEAD
Avoid dragging yourself through winter weather after work to pick up mealtime ingredients. Instead, shop ahead and make fewer trips. Stock up on frozen veggies and pantry staples like canned beans, whole grains and chicken stock so you can throw together healthy soups or grain bowls even if you’re low on just-purchased produce.
Bring home long-lasting root vegetables, too. Shop for a variety so you can pump up mashed potatoes with other additions like carrots, turnips or parsnips.
7. SAY YES TO FISH
The things that make wild salmon so healthy are especially important to add to our diet in winter: The fish is a rich source of vitamin B-12, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. When it comes to flavor and texture, previously frozen fish can still be high quality.
Stay inspired by trying out a new recipes (yes, even poaching gets old). Try grilled salmon tacos with avocado salsa; stir-fried bok choy, salmon and fresh ginger or creamy salmon chowder.