Staying Healthy This Fall
Fall is upon us and it makes me want to begin my hibernation for the winter. Fall means cozy warm slippers by the fire. Maybe with some warm milk and cookies.... This time of year often polarizes people's eating and health habits. Some begin to see their healthy eating choices as they hunker down for cold weather. Others find that the Fall is a kick start to getting back into shape after a Summer of lazy days on a patio sipping cocktails, and even may be are thinking ahead to New Year's resolutions to come. Both groups may see that it is a good time to check in with a dietitian to get you on track: book an appointment with me here!
Some tips to staying healthy and eating well during these dark and cold days:
Eat fresh and local when you can. Apples, kale, beets, and winter squashes are still great this time of year. Eating fresh and locally, you get the most nutrients possible during this time when good fresh foods aren't as available. We also want to support our local growers as much as we can to keep the valuable resource. Check out your local farmer's market. The one in Calgary is: www.calgaryfarmersmarket.ca or eatlocal.org for Vancouver's offerings.
Buy frozen fruits and vegetables to supplement what you can’t get fresh. Frozen berries in smoothies blended with kale or spinach is a great snack! Having frozen fruits and vegetables also help you bump up the nutrition by adding to the easy pre-prepared stuff that you can get in the frozen section. It's not the best option to get pre-prepared foods, but we all need a short cut here and there. So when you do get a lasagna, or pizza or rice bowl, add a hand full of frozen peas or broccoli to make it a bit healthier.
Cook in large batches and freeze in smaller portion sizes. I love making big batches of hearty soups and stews, pasta sauces, and shepherd’s pie. Then freeze in smaller portions to pull out for lunches or nights when you don’t feel like cooking. Constantly adding to and eating your frozen meals will keep your day to day meals varied and tasty.
Consider taking a vitamin D supplement for the lack of sun. Being so far north, we don't get enough sun to keep our vitamin D stores adequate. Recommendations are that those 1 year to 70 years should 600 IU of vitamin D and those 71 years and older should take 800 IU per day. Vitamin D research is still evolving, but it appears those with low blood levels of vitamin D are linked to increased risks of dying prematurely from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other causes.
Join an exercise group to keep you motivated through the cold days. Knowing that your friends are meeting you to play indoor floor hockey, volleyball or skiing will get you out there. Staying active throughout the winter help keeps your mood up and obviously has the physical benefits of moving around.
Wash your hands frequently. Being indoors more with everyone else, makes the spread of germs quicker and easier. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds. Alcohol hand rubs are also great, quick and easy ways to clean your hands when out and about. Rub your hands the same way you would if you were at a sink.