As the cold weather creeps in, our appetites and activity levels change. It is the period of the year for more quiet, introspective activities and our food choices mirror that. Gone are the days of quick, light salads on the run; fall and winter meals are more hearty affairs featuring warm, comforting dishes that ease the discomfort of the cold. On a biological level, our bodies crave hearty food to give us the strength to fight the cold - not that we need that now due to our fabulously chic down coats, but the instinct remains.
I don’t believe in diets at any time of year. Nutrition and wellbeing has to be a yearlong and life long commitment, so to me nothing really changes during the winter months in terms of my fundamental beliefs about food. Yes, the temperature of your food might change and you may crave more hearty foods but that doesn’t mean they can’t be packed with nutrients and energy.
Winter is a great time to master cooking with “good grains”. We all crave something more substantial during colder months, but it is better to limit the amount of wheat and gluten we are eating. Therefore, learning to cook - which I promise is easy - with wheat-free alternatives like millet, quinoa, buckwheat, polenta and amaranth is a positive way to satisfy your carb cravings. Soups, stews and hearty sauces are all delicious winter staples, which can be made with lots of vegetables to boost their nutritional value. Three of my favorite recipes to make during the winter months are: Squash and Red Lentil Coconut Curry by Hemsley and Hemsley, Wild Mushroom and Millet Risotto by Natasha Corrett and Tumeric and Lentil Soup by Deliciously Ella.
The holiday season - and more importantly the party season - should be approached with caution. Don't use the entire season as an excuse to indulge. Pace yourself, choose the parties you are going to treat yourself at and be moderate at the rest. Try not to drink excessively because nothing good comes of that and keep to a regular meal plan. Even if you are going out a lot try to come home first after work, have a nutritious dinner and then head out to the festivities. Don’t gorge on canapés and when you drink choose simple drinks like a glass of wine or a mixed drink with sparkling water – no fruity mixed drinks or “dessert” cocktails which are packed with sugar.
Photography by Paul Krokos; hand model: Kateryna Pavlovska / Hired Hands; nails by Liane Anderson using MAC; makeup by Lesley Vye.