For many people, the chill in the air that hits right before wintertime is a signal to go into a form of personal hibernation. This means less time outdoors, more time spend doing sedentary activities, and possible weight gain. That being said, there is no obligation to pack on the pounds during the winter months – remember, you aren’t actually hibernating!
The arrival of winter doesn’t mean you have to give up fresh fruit and vegetables in exchange for foods that are not going to be kind to your waistline. In fact, there are plenty of in-season winter foods that are great for losing weight or keeping your weight maintained, even during the cold and dark days of the season. Read on to learn more about some delicious winter foods that aid fat loss.
The key to losing fat in the winter is to eat healthily and exercise. While it may seem harder to eat healthily because the freshest produce isn’t available to everyone (especially those in colder climates), it can still be done.
The most important step to losing fat in the winter is maintaining your exercise program. If you usually exercise outside and can’t during the winter months, consider joining a gym or getting a piece of cardio equipment for your home. That way, any type of exercise you would have done in the great outdoors can still be done from the comfort of your own living room.
Once you have managed to keep your exercise routine in check, you can figure out what types of foods you should be incorporating into your diet so that not only is the produce fresh, it is also good for your waistline.
Eating a diet rich in whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes is the best way to make sure that your weight loss journey stays on track throughout winter. Eating local and in-season is always better, because the further away from harvest a food is, the less nutrient-dense it becomes.
So, what winter foods should you be adding to your diet for an extra weight loss boost over the winter season?
Butternut squash isn’t only low in calories – it’s also high in filling fiber that will help keep your appetite regulated so you’re not tempted to overeat. A cup of butternut squash will cost you just 87 calories in exchange for 7 grams of fiber.
The type of fiber in butternut squash is important, too. The vegetable contains both insoluble and soluble fiber; soluble fiber keeps you fuller and reduces your appetite. Research has shown that diets higher in dietary fiber could help to reduce overall levels of body fat and promote weight loss.
Sweet potatoes are nutrient powerhouses and contain complex carbohydrates. This means the carb is linked with three or more different sugars, including fiber. While you won’t be able to scarf down sweet potato fries and still see fat loss, eating sweet potatoes the right way can help to promote fullness and reduce cravings, which aids in the reduction of calorie intake overall throughout the day.
Carrots are a great in-season option, and not just because they’re versatile and delicious. Carrots contain high levels of nutrients and are low in calories, so they are able to help decrease cravings and encourage feelings of fullness. As is the case with butternut squash, it’s the fiber content of carrots that really helps aid in a reduced appetite.
Kale is one of the best foods you can eat when you’re trying to lose fat. The low-calorie vegetable has a high water content, and because of this combination, it has a low energy density. This means that you can eat a ton of kale and the calories won’t add up in the same way as other foods. Low energy density foods have been shown to significantly help with weight loss.
Beets are another in-season vegetable with a low energy density that can aid in weight loss. They also contain high amounts of vitamins and minerals that the body needs to function at its best. Because of their high nutrient content, beets can help you keep off the fat; for example, the fiber they contain has been shown to aid in weight loss.
Beets may also help to improve athletic performance because of the nitrates they contain. Nitrates have been shown to improve the efficiency of certain parts of cells known as the mitochondria, in turn helping to fuel every cell in your body with the energy it needs to push you through a tough workout.
When the seasons change, it can be difficult to keep up with a routine. This is especially true when the days grow shorter and the nights longer, and the air gets a little too chilly to enjoy. While the winter does come with its downsides, the plus side is that you don’t have to give up on your weight loss journey just because the season has changed. Add the aforementioned foods to your diet this winter and you can reap nutritional benefits that will aid in fat loss all season long.