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Make soup.Your body is craving comfort foods and a feeling of fullness. Soups, stews, and chilis all fit the bill and can be made with ingredients that wont pack on pounds, says Bonci. Hot, liquidy foods like soups take longer to eat than other foods and also make you feel fuller so youll be satisfied with an appropriate amount of food.
Roast your veggies.Fresh crisp salads sort of lose their appeal when its 30 degrees out and dumping snow. But that doesnt mean you stop feeling satisfied by healthful, filling, and non-pound packing veggies. Just roast em! When you roast vegetables, their flavor becomes concentrated and their natural sugars caramelize, so they are scrumptiously, richly satisfying. Just toss in olive oil and roast at 450 degrees. (We suggest baking with this durablecast iron skillet from Lodge.)
Draw out your meals.Instead of fighting the urge to eat, prolong your eating experience, says Bonci. Start with a course of your entre and a side of veggies. Then later in the evening, sit down to a bowl of soup or salad with warm dressing, she says. You wont eat any more total calories overall, but by spreading them out, your urge to keep eating will be satisfied.
Get into the zone.The Zone Diet was all the rage in the mid-’90s because it dared a fat-phobic nation to eat more healthy fat and high-protein foods while limiting sugars and starchy carbs. This style of eating was ahead of its time and really good advice for avoiding weight gain in the winter. Protein and fat take your body longer to digest, and promote satiety, so youre less likely to overeat, says Bonci. Aim for about 30-percent protein, 30-percent fat, and 40-percent carbohydrates in the form of veggies, legumes, and whole grains. Try adding avocado, beans, and toasted nuts to your meals for satisfying protein and fat as well as healthful, filling fiber.
Spice it up.Warm spices like red pepper, cinnamon and clove, as well as garlic and ginger, can make your meals more satisfying and give your metabolism a bit of a bumpboth of which help fend off overeating and winter flab.
Be a light seeker.The lack of sunlight during the shorter days of winter can trigger a drop in the feel-good brain chemical serotonin, which in turn can lead to carb binges as you try to give your brain a chemical boost. Spend time near windows and ride outdoors during winter months to maximize your light exposure. Brighten up your kitchen and dining area with plenty of lights so youre not cooking and eating in a dreary and/or dark environment, says Bonci.
Keep moving!Yes, you may feel like curling up on the couch with a bag of chips, but youll actually feel much better if you get exercise. Exercise not only burns fat and calories (which obviously helps keep winter weight gain in check), but its also a natural serotonin booster and mood lifter, so the urge to overeat wont be as strong.