As much as we may wish to hang onto long summer days spent watching sunsets on patios, we do live in a country defined by its seasons.
Within a transition between a hot season and a cooler one, the change can seem rather abrupt. All of the sudden, sandals must be surrendered to the back of your closet and warm socks come out from hiding. Even for the well-adjusted hearty Canadian this can feel shocking, year after year.
What does one do with this mourning period on the first chilly evening? Often it means approaching what is comfortable: warm sweaters, blankets and perhaps some comfort food on the side. As soon as we abandon our eating plans, we abandon our commitment to our health, and this is not something that should change season to season.
However, this hardly means that we have to eat cold vegetables in order to maintain our waistlines. Some suggestions to keep the cold out and your health in:
1) Soup. We do not mean the cabbage soup diet, which has never been, nor will ever be a good idea. We are taking warm noodley concoctions that use the contents of your refrigerator and spice cabinet. Cooking soup is a way to become a confident cook. You can experiment broadly with whatever you have on hand, from dried beans to coconut milk, and it is hard to screw up if you start with a good broth and base. The bonus is that you can easily get your full serving of daily vegetables by using an immersion blender for at least half the soup to make it thick, without the addition of cream.
2) Warm cereal in the morning – oatmeal, barley, quinoa. The sky is the limit and if you’re pressed for time, a slow cooker can be set to make sure that it is cooked to perfection by the time you wake up. Have your toppings nearby – fruit, nuts, maple syrup, nut butters or even crumbled leftover muffins. So filling and delicious that you don’t need to think about its health benefits.
3) Think about how you could add nutrition to any warm recipe that you have, from lasagna to a stir-fry, without sacrificing flavour. Can you use whole-wheat noodles or brown rice? Can you cut down on cheese or use a lower fat variety? Can you half the amount of meat and double the vegetables? Can you reduce the sauce?
Experiment and you may find that by the time the summer rolls around you aren’t feeling the need to go on a bikini diet. Keep your bathing suit shape year round without scarifying taste or comfort.
She wore an itsy bitsy teenie weenie…