Three steps to watching your weight in autumn

How to eat seasonally and keep healthy in the colder months

By Rachel Coombs

Autumn – the colourful leaves, log fires, wrapping up warm, it’s no wonder it’s a favourite time of year. But as the nights draw in and weather turns you may find you turn to comfort food and think twice about heading out into the dark cold night to exercise.

This change of season doesn’t have to mean that you throw all of your hard work out of the window you can still lose or maintain your weight loss with a few minor tweaks to your ‘summer’ lifestyle.

Step 1 – Eating Well

You may not feel like salads and think cold weather is all about stodgy foods. Autumnal foods can be deliciously healthy and packed full of nutrients.  Swap your salads for homemade vegetable soups and heartening stews which include lentils and pulses. If you continue to watch your portion sizes you don’t have to pile on the pounds. Visit our website for lots of tasty autumn recipes. This time of year we are overflowing with seasonal vegetable delights such as carrots, pumpkins, squash, wild mushrooms, shallots, leeks and kale so always add an extra portion or two on your plate.

Step 2 – Staying active

With a bit of planning and dressing for the weather we can keep activity levels up over the colder months. Remember for moderate activity your heart needs to be beating faster, slightly out of breath but still hold a conversation.  For free activities this could include a bracing walk along the seafront, kicking up the leaves, joining a park run or a health walk.

Step 3 – Being snack savvy

Dark evenings can be a troublesome for eating comforting foods and reaching for snacks.  Food cravings are said to last 20 minutes so using distraction techniques to keep yourself busy it will soon pass. Starting a new hobby, or rekindling a  past one, getting on with those jobs around house such as clearing out a drawer or putting that photo album together can help to distract and keep you busy.

It can be handy to have some healthier snacks available. At this time of year you can find apples, pears, cranberries, figs, seeds and nuts which are all in season.   Look for snacks which are less than 100 calories such as a small bowl of homemade popcorn, an apple sliced with a teaspoon of peanut butter, veggie sticks with 30g low fat hummus, a boiled egg or a scotch pancake with fruit.

If you would like to lose weight and live more healthily, try one of our Shape Up Programmes. Call Louise or Sue on 01273 431703 or email healthyweight@bhfood.org.uk.

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