Staying healthy through the winter months,
by Nicky Gilbert, dietitian and registered sport and exercise nutritionist
Making sound healthy and nutritious food and drink choices can be even more challenging during the cold winter months with short daylight hours. This article aims to support you in keeping well, active and healthy throughout Xmas and into the New Year.
How much do you really know about nutrition for healthy living and performance?
Have some fun with and your friends and family, by answering ‘Truth’ or ‘Myth’ to the following 6 statements.
"Breakfast is the most important meal of the day"
"Sports drinks improve physical performance"
"It is fine to eat sugary foods after physical activity as it helps recovery"
"Drinking milk after exercise helps with both rehydration and recovery"
"A healthy balanced diet can provide all essential nutrients for health"
"It doesn’t matter when you eat as long as you eat and drink the right food to meet all your daily needs"
Breakfast is just one of three important meals of the day! Eating at regular intervals throughout the day prevents us from getting hungry and provides a steady supply of fuel for both physical and mental performance. So, lunch is just as important as breakfast, allowing us to fuel our endeavours in the afternoon.
If you are not hungry when you wake, it is fine to eat your breakfast within two hours but you could try eating a smaller evening meal and/or eating a little earlier in the evening to trigger your appetite for breakfast. If you miss breakfast because it bores you, take time to experiment with your breakfast choices and make them a little more appetising.
Banana and walnuts, coconut and tinned pineapple, chopped apple and cinnamon,
walnuts and raisins, frozen berries and granola, or passion fruit?
Many people may choose to drink a sports drink for hydration and/or an energy boost or simply because of the taste. However, simply drinking a sports drink won’t guarantee you hydration or an ‘improved performance’ – an active lifestyle with optimal sleep and a healthy balanced diet are the main determining factors.
In most situations, refilling a bottle with tap water alone or with a sugar free flavouring is a cheap, effective and environmentally friendly approach to keeping hydrated.
Carbohydrate rich foods which are rapidly absorbed and referred to as ‘high glycaemic index’ or high GI, have long been promoted to aid recovery with sugary confectionery, cakes and cereal bars being popular choices. However, eating immediately after activity is rarely necessary, unless you participate in intense training more than once a day, most days of the week. For most people a regular healthy meal pattern will simply do the trick for any activity!
This is true. Milk is not only a good source of fluid for rehydration but provides essential nutrients which nourish and aid recovery.
Plant-based eaters and vegans do not need to despair – we can get all our essential nutrients provided by eating a varied and well-planned diet.
Our mood and resilience is influenced by a steady supply of nutrients to the brain – so help yourself by keeping to a regular meal pattern, starting the day with a nutritious breakfast and choosing nutritious meals, healthy snacks and hydrating drinks at regular throughout the day.
Quick and easy to prepare, low GI for slower release energy and perfect for before or after training.
You can put all types of fillings in your burrito – spicy chicken, chilli con carne - made with meat or Quorn, and as well as the below, you can try adding sweetcorn, peas or chopped peppers to your rice, too.
4 large flour tortilla wraps (try wholegrain)
4 large lettuce leaves, shredded
3 tomatoes, chopped
½ cup grated reduced-fat cheddar
4 tablespoons low-fat natural yoghurt
Spray of oil olive or rapeseed or sunflower
1 onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
440 g can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
400 g can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato puree
2 teaspoons chilli sauce
Serve with generous portion of basmati rice and a larger mixed salad for a more substantial meal.
Work with your family to answer the following questions about hydration and keeping healthy throughout the festive season
Remember that words can be vertical, horizontal, upside down, reversed or even diagonal!
3. DIZZY and SHAKY
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Either way, if we don't speak to you before, we hope you have a wonderful break - see you in 2024!