As we move deeper into Autumn we can see everything around us changing - temperatures are cooler, that familiar crisp autumn bite is in the air and those long summer days are getting shorter and darker.?With the change in the weather comes a change in our diet. Those crispy salads and fresh fruits that you may have enjoyed during the summer months just won't cut it on those dark, dreary days. Comfort eating can take over in these months but it doesn't have to be a diet disaster. It's ok to move away from those lighter, summery foods. What we don't want, however, is to dive head first into a sack of spuds!
Here are some tips to help you stay on track while giving yourself permission to comfort yourself;
- One of the reasons we comfort eat at this time of year is that the days are shorter and darker and our body produces less serotonin ??the happy hormone?. We then naturally crave more of the carbohydrates to increase the serotonin levels, such as potatoes and pasta. Choose complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, quinoa, oats - they release energy slowly, regulate your metabolism and help you to sleep better.
- Soups, stews and baked fruit are a really healthy way to fill up, stay cosy and remain on point with your fitness/wellness goals.
- Make salads but instead of cold ingredients add warm butternut squash or pumpkin to it, mix in quinoa or brown rice.
- Commit to taking a walk outside every day - it doesn't have to be a power walk, just a stroll will do. It's about grabbing your daily dose of Vitamin D - this is the vitamin which can influence the functioning of a hormone called leptin, making you more likely to overeat.
- Focus on eating foods that are in season. There are so many yummy, seasonal foods to enjoy - think pumpkins, parsnips, apples, pears and figs.
So what will seasonally eating do to help your fitness/ wellness goals?
Seasonally fresh produce has the best flavour - crispy, juicy and colourful. We all know that the more colourful our plate is the more vitamins and minerals we get. If the food we are eating is fresh and in season it means they are ripe and fully developed giving us more antioxidants. This also means we will get the best out of our foods giving us the energy and health to exercise, sleep well and thrive.
When humans get too involved in food production it tends to mean that pesticides, chemicals and preservatives are in the mix - this is bad news for the body. If we try to choose local, seasonal food we are more likely going to get a cleaner food. Avoiding foods that are packaged or genetically modified and opting for fresh, local, seasonal food means you are getting the best of the best for your beautiful bod.
I love the idea that you know where your food comes from - I know this isn't always possible especially in the busy worlds we all live in. If you have the possibility of getting some of your weekly shop at a market or local farmer, not only is there a great sense of comfort but also community - you are contributing to your own local economy and environment. And while this won't contribute massively to weight loss or fitness goals, it feels good - we are all in it together after all.
I'm not the best cook in the world I have to be honest but I try to be really aware of the foods I put into my body. If you commit to eating seasonally you have to cook more. This is good because you get to control what you put into your body - how much salt you add, if you want oil or not. You aren't relying on the people who packaged your food to make that decision for you? it makes sense right!?
Seasonal eating challenges you to become more creative in the kitchen - your body will thank you for this. Eating lots of different foods all year round adds variety to your diet, you are less likely to have food intolerances as a result and variety is, as they say, the spice of life.
Experts always tell us that if we live in tune with nature it will help us live a more balanced, simple life - isn't this what we are all striving for, balance and wellbeing?