In the winter months, there is a smaller selection of fresh foods, we more frequently eat foods which are cooked, and the food we choose in the winter tends to be higher in energy value (calories) than at other times of the year. Most of us also decrease our physical activity during the winter, which means that it is easy to gain weight. This leads to two questions: How does this extra weight affect our health? Is it normal to gain weight in the winter?
If during the whole winter a person gains one to two kilograms, it usually does not pose a health risk. However, complication arise when a person gains this amount of weight every winter and retains it over the year. Most often, weight gain is the result of poor nutritional habits, consuming large quantities of food, and reduced physical activity. A diet that is not varied, skipping meals, and alternating between over and under eating are sure ways to quickly gain weight.
How do we avoid a larger increase in body weight and prevent health risks that can arise because of this? First, do not give up on the recommended basic principles of proper nutrition, which are, let us remember: moderation, variety, and regular meals. These are important recommendations for all ages in every season.
Some additional guidelines can help families to avoid weight gain in winter:
• Eat frequent, smaller meals
• Eat a variety of foods
• Avoid or decrease frying
• Cook meals with seasonal ingredients
• Chew each mouthful of food well
• Do not link your nutrition to emotional states (joy, sadness, happiness, boredom, anxiety, etc.
No less important is daily physical activity. Walking, light exercises at home, organized sport/recreation activities, and clearing snow or leaves are some other possibilities, but always keep your current level of fitness in mind.
Reference: Serbian Institute for Public Health