Seasonal weight gain has many different culprits. People tend to shy away from outdoor activities when the weather is bad. The couch is more inviting in the winter, and so are snacks. One of the main reasons people gain weight in winter is due to an indulgence in carbohydrates.
Why do people eat more carbs in the winter? Lack of sunlight and cloudy gray days are not exactly mood boosters. Carbohydrates are “feel good” foods. They increase serotonin levels, and make you feel good for short periods of time, but not without a cost.
Processed and refined carbohydrates (cookies, cakes, pies, sugar) cause unwanted spikes in insulin levels. Regulating blood sugar levels is key to achieving a healthy biochemistry. So what is a carb-lover to do? Eat Carbs! (The good kind)
High in nutrients, antioxidants and heart-healthy carotenoids (found in yellow or orange fruits and veggies), butternut squash is a super food. Roast in the oven; enjoy as a soup, or simply steam.
Packed with vitamins and a great source of fiber, pumpkins can be used in soups, stews, pies, and as a side dish to any protein meal.
A delicious complex carbohydrate, sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber. Bake in the oven whole; use for sweet potato fries, or add to chilies and stews.
Berries are super antioxidants and contain a really low glycemic index. Thin-skinned fruits produce high amounts of antioxidants to self- protect from the sun. Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are great in salads, yogurt, or in shakes. As with any food that you are going to eat without peeling: get organic. You’ll save yourself an extra dose of pesticides.
Primarily known for its properties as a healthy fat, Avocado does contain a minimal amount of carbs. Packed with fiber, avocados can be used in salads, guacamole, or eaten by itself as a snack. This fat-filled fruit is satisfying and tasty!
So remember, all carbs are not created equal. This winter, eat healthy carbs to look good and feel fantastic!
NYC Personal Trainer / Strength Coach
Bindu Nambiar is a strength coach and fascial stretch therapist at Physiqology Inc., a New York City based personal training company. Bindu helps her clients get stronger, recover from injury, lose weight, and look great!