20 Aug The HealthStyle File- Sneaky Energy Stealers…
What: When the weather turns cold (and gray) your body will naturally begin to crave more carbohydrates and fat. These food cravings can be very strong and they seem to get stronger as the weather gets darker.
Why: Donuts, cookies, pizza and candy bars have something in common besides just wrecking your waistline. These foods help your body to create serotonin, the feel good chemical that gives you a dose of “inside sunshine.” During the winter we eat, on average, an extra 100 calories each day. If you eat an extra 100 calories during the four or five months of winter, you’d be gaining almost a pound of fat each month. The additional bad news is that most of us eat an extra 100 calories a day from junk food, usually in an attempt to boost our low winter energy levels.
The good news is that there are foods that can increase your serotonin levels, helping to boost your mood, without wrecking your waistline.
How to boost your winter mood and energy levels:
- Eat beans to boost your energy! Beans will give you a good dose of fiber, keeping you fuller, longer. They also provide folic acid which helps to increase your mood in the winter months. Also, eat them in a hot meal, such as chili or bean soup. Hot meals will help to keep you full and serves to kill your appetite.
- Eat more protein. Lean sources of protein can boost your mood naturally and help to provide the amino acids necessary for your brain to function smoothly. Try some turkey bacon or chicken sausage for breakfast, a small amount of turkey at lunch and a small piece of fish at dinner.
- Eat more carbs (good carbs!). There’s a huge difference between carbohydrates that come from white flour versus carbohydrates that come from veggies, fruits and whole grains. Carbs that come from white rice or tortillas will quickly raise your blood sugar levels and then drop you like a hot potato. Carbs that are full of fiber (for ex. veggies, an apple, and steel cut oatmeal) will slowly raise your blood sugar, allowing you to feel all the energy raising effects of your food.