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Holiday weight gain. Winter pounds. Whatever you call it, winter can be the easiest season to jump waist sizes. The holidays are surrounded by sweets and eating to excess, and the cold weather does little to encourage anyone from attempting to work off all of those extra calories.
Take heart, for all hope is not lost! We’ve put together a list of foods that are in season during the winter. You can implement these suggestions and replacements all winter long. Your summer body will thank you!
Guava, Tangelo, and Pomelo
Guava is a pink tropical fruit that is sweet and rich in vitamins A and C in addition to magnesium and potassium. The seeds provide a hit of fiber.
A cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit, the tangelo has less vitamin C than an orange but more vitamin A than any other citrus, while also rich in fiber which helps keep you feeling full, and potassium which is a great energy boost before workouts.
The pomelo is a relative of the grapefruit. This fruit has a ton of folic acid, potassium, and flavonoids which helps prevent the spread of cancer cells.
Prickly Pears and Starfruit
Prickly pears, also known as cactus pears, are full of antioxidants that help with weight loss. The starfruit has a sweet, apple-like flavor, is a great immunity booster filled with potassium, vitamin C, and antioxidants and is a fun way to keep your fruit intake up.
Macadamia Nuts, Chia and Sunflowers Seeds
Macadamia nuts (while being fun to say) are a tasty snack that helps keep you feeling full due to the monounsaturated fats.
The fiber and protein in chia seeds helps weight loss through both curving appetite and food cravings. If you’re looking for a raise in energy before a workout, chia seeds added to a smoothie are a great choice.
Not only are sunflower seeds a handy snack that takes work to get to (unless you cheat and buy a bag of shelled seeds), but they’re also great sources of magnesium, selenium, and vitamin E, the last being a fat-soluble antioxidant. Do be cautious of the sodium intake though.
Dark Chocolate, Maple Syrup, and Honey
Let’s face it, any weight loss diet is going to be impossible to stick with if you can’t treat yourself once in a while. Consider using dark chocolate, maple syrup, and honey to replace traditional sweets and sugars.
Dark chocolate is not only delicious, but also has the added bonus of healthy flavonoids. Just because dark chocolate is better for you than other chocolates doesn’t mean you can go overboard, but if taken in moderation, it can be a sweet getaway to satisfy that craving.
A great sweetener replacement, like honey, maple syrup is good in coffee while containing plenty of vitamins and minerals, unlike sugar.
Anyone who has had a sore throat knows to put some lemon and honey into their tea to soothe it. One of those wonder foods that seems like it can do it all, honey is an immunity and energy booster, as well as a nature’s healthy sweetener.
Easy to make and delicious, oatmeal is full of nutrients and phytochemicals. Plus, the fiber and viscosity helps you feeling full longer, preventing that mid-morning snack.
Greek Yogurt, Kefir, and Coconut Milk
A better source of protein and calcium than regular yogurt, Greek yogurt is a good substitute for oils in baked good and also a healthy replacement for sour cream or mayonnaise in dips.
Kefir is similar to yogurt in that it is made from fermented milk. This stuff is packed with B vitamins, folic acid, fiber, and protein. The probiotics help your body absorb the nutrition while the tryptophan relaxes the nervous system. Great for a post workout drink to help you relax, or a quick beverage to fill up on before heading out to a dinner or party to keep you full while helping to reduce bloating.
Like with the dark chocolate, sometimes we need to indulge. A glass of red wine on a cold winter night is a great way to relax. The antioxidants that help reduce the risk of heart disease make the few calories for a 120ml glass worth it.
Shiitake Mushrooms and Watercress
These meaty mushrooms are packed with dietary fiber which helps with weight loss, as well as potassium, selenium, vitamin B6, and lentinan which may help boost immune system by assisting in the fighting of viruses.
You can find a good source of vitamins B, C, A, and K as well as zinc and antioxidants in watercress. This leafy green helps cleanse the body and keeps body processes in full swing, which is important to steady, healthy weight loss.
This list barely scratches the surface. With a little research and a keen eye, you can keep your shelves stocked, your palate satisfied, and your waist trim in time for summer without sacrificing taste or satisfaction in your meals.
Kevin Jones is a freelance writer, researcher and fitness instructor/consultant. He has helped hundreds of people find ways to become more fit and healthy through a balanced life focusing on an individualized approach to their nutrition and fitness. In addition, Kevin has written extensively in the fitness and health industries, including writing for companies such as a ICON Fitness brand NordicTrack. Connect with Kevin online on LinkedIn and Twitter.