Content provided by the GBS Health & Wellness Team
From the Dietitian’s Desk
With Becca Rick, MS, RD
Maintaining healthy habits during the winter months can present a challenge – the weather is colder, and the days are shorter, which typically means more time indoors. However, this turn of the season can be a time to evaluate goals and priorities around physical health habits, including meal planning, exercise to boost mood, and eating food that will be both nourishing and satisfying. Taking care of your physical health by maintaining healthy habits has been shown to improve mood, energy levels, and overall quality of life.
Consider these simple suggestions to improve overall health and feel your best during the winter season.
Establish a routine. Getting into the habit of enjoying three meals a day can provide structure and consistency and can make space for nutritious, satisfying meals. It is easy to get into the habit of day-long grazing rather that consuming complete meals, which often results in a lack of satisfaction from the eating experience. If preparing and cooking three full meals per day seems overwhelming, consider picking one meal – breakfast, lunch, or dinner – that will be the main sit-down meal of the day.
Try out flexible meal planning. Simply making a grocery list and heading to the store with a plan of what to buy can make the week’s meals much easier and more accessible. Select ingredients for two to four meals, and grab a few staples for quick and easy breakfasts and lunches. Don’t stress about changing things around during the week – let meal planning make life easier rather than adding additional stress or restriction.
Use what is available. Maximize the ingredients that are already in the kitchen by working through canned foods and storage – a sustainable move, plus less trips to the grocery store! Chili is an excellent option for using up canned goods.
Get creative with movement. While outdoor options are limited, consider virtual at-home workouts. It is best to find something enjoyable that allows for fun and relieves stress, while also getting the physical benefits of exercise. Physical activity has been shown to reduce risk of depression and anxiety and improve sleep habits. Exercise also boosts immune health and reduces the impact of life stress. Consider searching on YouTube for yoga, strength training, or dance workouts. Focus on what is realistic to fit into a typical routine, even if it’s simply 15 minutes of yoga each morning.
Feel confident and empowered to stay healthy this winter, whether it’s planning for three complete meals a day, rotating canned food storage, or getting creative with at-home exercise – any effort, no matter how small, will be beneficial.