Keeping well in winter


 There are many changes that occur during the winter months. Noticeably the food choices we make. Colder weather often means less fresh salads, wraps sandwiches and more hot meals such as soup and casseroles. With a bit of planning you can make sure you are eating well throughout winter to make sure you are getting enough nutrients for a good immune system and to maintain a healthy weight.

Eat seasonally. An exciting thing about winter is that the seasonal fruit and vegetables are all so tasty and versatile. Think mandarins, apples, carrots, broccoli, pumpkin and potatoes to name a few. These are all packed full of vitamins and minerals to keep you feeling good. Don’t forget frozen and canned vegetables are a terrific addition to meals to bulk them up and to help you get your 5+ a day.

Watch portions. It can be tempting to overeat in the winter. We often find ourselves inside for longer and this can lead to eating when bored or having seconds when we don’t need them. Be careful of your portion sizes – aim to make half your plate full of colourful vegetables, ¼ for protein (lean meat or meat alternatives) and ¼ for carbohydrates (rice, pasta, quinoa, potatoes). Avoid distractions at meal times such as TV and focus on your meal. That way, you will be more mindful of how much you’re eating and less likely to overeat.

Keep hydrated. A common mistake made is eating because we think we’re hungry when we may just be thirsty. With colder weather, we tend to drink less however it is still recommended you drink 6-8 glasses of fluid each day. This can be unsweetened tea, coffee and water.

Vitamin D. Many New Zealanders do not get enough vitamin D in the winter. As mentioned earlier, it is important to get out in the sun to produce vitamin D. Vitamin D is vital for immune function, bone strength and overall wellbeing. Vitamin D can be found in oily fish such as salmon, lamb, eggs and fortified yoghurt and milk.

Keep active. Exercise is beneficial not only for maintaining a healthy body weight but also for energy levels, mood, heart health and immunity.

Check out your local options for indoor and outdoor exercise activities such as:

  • Aqua exercise
  • Gym classes – warm and dry rooms with a group to help motivate you.
  • Yoga/Pilates classes
  • Walking groups – help keep your vitamin D levels up while enjoying a nice walk on a sunny day.
  • Bowls clubs


Anna Small

Health Promoter

Cancer Society Marlborough

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