Winter is a time of the year where it is sometimes difficult to maintain a healthy diet since it is more difficult to incorporate fresh foods, the consumption of vegetables and fruits, hydration and physical activity.
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“In the first place, it is important to remember that our energy requirements do not change depending on the season of the year in which we find ourselves, although it may happen that in the face of cold we feel more like eating certain foods,” explained Josefina Locatelli, a graduate in Nutrition ( MP 4095), who is part of the College of Nutritionists of the Province of Buenos Aires.
“Our body obtains energy from food to fulfill its vital functions – Locatelli continued – and requires the contribution of a variety of nutrients to maintain a good state of health. Thus, a variety of foods from all groups should be incorporated daily, such as vegetables, fruits, cereals, legumes, meat and eggs, milk, yogurt, cheeses, oils, seeds, nuts, always preferring homemade preparations, and avoiding consumption of ultra-processed products with an excessive contribution of sugars, sodium and fats”.
Due to its contribution of fiber, water, vitamins and minerals, the consumption of fruits and vegetables in various preparations is very important. Thus, vegetables can be consumed in soups, puddings, baked, scrambled, pureed, tortillas, warm salads, stews with vegetables and meats with low fat content, grilled. As for fruits, in addition to consuming them fresh, they can be included in cooked preparations such as compote or baked fruit, or added to sweet preparations such as cakes, puddings or pancakes. Some like others, it is convenient to take advantage of seasonal products, which are usually more tasty, nutritious and also cheaper.
At this time of year, the seasonal vegetables are: Swiss chard, celery, sweet potato, broccoli, pumpkin, green onion, green bean, cauliflower, spinach, fennel, leek, radish, radishes, radicheta, beet, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, carrot and pumpkin, among others. For its part, among the seasonal fruits, citrus fruits stand out, such as grapefruit, orange, tangerine, but also apple, pear and kiwi. “The more variety and colors we include in the dish, the better, in order to obtain a greater supply of diverse nutrients,” said the nutritionist.
Legumes are also a great ally at this time, considering their high nutritional value, both for their versatility when including them in different preparations, and for their great variety and affordable cost. Beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, soybeans, are some of the best known legumes and can be included in stews, croquettes, milanese or hamburgers, salads, soups, scrambled eggs, spreads, purees, as well as in sweet preparations such as cakes, puddings, cookies and cakes.
“Another option to add to our diet is nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, chestnuts, peanuts, which provide us with healthy energy, good quality fats, fiber and antioxidants. These can be incorporated into various preparations such as salads, scrambled eggs, cookies, spreads, and chosen as healthy snacks if you want to incorporate them between main meals”, advised Locatelli, from the Buenos Aires Association of Nutritionists.
Hydration and activity
Another important point to take into account on a day-to-day basis is hydration, since due to low temperatures it can happen that it costs more to drink liquids. The recommended drink is always safe water. Infusions such as mate or tea can also be incorporated, although the supply of free water is always essential for the functions of our body.
Finally, the nutritionist suggested “doing regular physical activity, as it will keep us moving by improving our body temperature”, in addition to all the benefits it has for our health: it contributes to good bone and muscle health, helps maintain a healthy weight healthy, prevents the development of chronic non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer, reduces stress, depression and anxiety, improves concentration and memory, produces a feeling of physical and social well-being, helps increase work productivity and improve school performance, and helps to have a better rest. Although it is more difficult to do physical activity in the cold, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day.
For a healthy and balanced diet, complete preparations should be included, which provide carbohydrates, proteins, fats and fiber, preferring seasonal products that contribute with a variety of vitamins and minerals, thus reinforcing the immune system and helping to combat the cold. It is always advisable to consult suitable health professionals, such as nutritionists, for advice on food and to be able to incorporate healthy habits that accompany a lifetime.