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A Healthy Winter Diet

A Healthy Winter DietLow temperatures during the glorious winter season does whet up appetite. The advent of winters also coincides with the holiday season in most of the countries and this implies more of rich and fancy foods like cakes, cookies, sandwiches, burgers, pastas laden with cream cheese and more. However excess of such foods is obviously very harmful for the body. Not only does it add to unhealthy and empty calories but also impacts the digestive and cardiovascular system adversely. This is why it is important to plan and follow a nutritious winter diet – with foods that keep the body warm and energetic while also maintaining a good health.

Winter diet must include foods from different groups to ensure adequate nutrition for the body. Proteins and carbohydrates supply energy that is required in winters when the body feels rather lethargic. These can be provided by foods such as milk, yogurt, eggs and legumes. Breakfast – the first meal of the day can have milk and cereals such as oatmeal or corn flakes to start the day on an energetic note. Whole wheat pancakes or brown bread with some butter can also be taken in breakfast. Fiber in wheat, oats, barley, whole grain breads and pastas, is known to have a protective effect for both digestive and heart health. However, in any winter diet and even otherwise, one should avoid eating refined or processed cereals and grains as most of the nutrients are stripped in these products at the refining level.

Vitamins and minerals also need to be a part of winter diet. The body is vulnerable to common cough and cold during winter season and to prevent such problems it is important to have a strong immune system. Foods rich in Vitamin C must therefore be included in winter diet. Oranges, guavas, papayas, strawberries and kiwi fruits are good sources of Vitamin C. A helping of any of these fruits can be taken during the breakfast, after lunch or simply as a snack at any time of the day. The vegetables that supply Vitamin C in a winter diet include broccoli, cauliflower, mustard greens and bell pepper.

While planning a winter diet, yogurt is also good food to be taken during lunch or even in breakfast. It contains active bacterial cultures that further help to boost body's immune system in winters. Fresh fruits can also be added to yogurt to make it more palatable.

Winter diet should be loaded with plenty of fiber to relive the constipation that can be caused due to a comparatively sedentary lifestyle. Fresh salads with lunch and dinner not only add an extra variety to the meals but also become a good source of numerous vitamins and minerals. It is wise to avoid fatty salad dressings as they do not serve any nutritional purpose. Minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and selenium can be derived from nuts and dry fruits in a winter diet.

The body’s nutritional requirements do not increase or decrease dramatically with change of season. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and even high tea or party snacks can be planned very well in a winter diet provided you give attention to nutritional value instead of just thinking about a good taste.
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