There is no need to crave the unhealthy food this Autumn. Seasonal foods are generally low in fat and are packed full of mood boosting ingredients. Find out more.
Autumn doesn’t have to mean adding inches
Baked fruit, warm soups and hearty stews and casseroles are a few options which can fill you up without pilling on the pounds. Their high water content means the number of calories per gram is generally low. There’s also seasonal produce to tuck into at this time of the year. These foods are not only low in fat but are packed full of mood boosting ingredients and disease fighting antioxidants so there is no need to crave the unhealthy stuff when you’re curled up on the sofa. Seasonal foods which are common at this time of year include:
- Carrots, sweet potato and pumpkins are great sources of vitamin C, fibre and the antioxidant beta-carotene
- Apples and pears. Apples contain heart healthy flavonoids, some of the most potent antioxidants around, while pears are rich in waistline friendly and cholesterol lowering soluble fibre
- Figs are a high fibre autumn treat which not only fill you up but are also a good non-dairy source of calcium – good news for your bone health and potentially your waist line
Top tips for beating the Autumn blues:
- Get outside and enjoy some fresh air: Focus on the time spent together in an active way such as a romantic stroll or bike ride. Or why not try a new exercise class or take up a new sport together? By taking the emphasis away from eating and drinking you can spend quality time together while getting fit and healthy.
- Have breakfast: It is always harder to get up in the morning when it is dark outside. Start the day with a bowl of hearty porridge or a wholegrain cereal topped with a slice of banana and a sprinkling of berries. It will help to ward off hunger pangs and give you the physical and mental energy to take on the day. Eating foods fortified with B vitamins, like breakfast cereals, help to release energy from foods and can help keep your mood steady because they’re needed to make that feel good chemical serotonin.
- Keep hydrated: Just because the heat has gone outside doesn’t mean that you need to stop drinking. Dehydration is one of the biggest causes of tiredness and lack of energy, so make sure you have 1-1.5 litres of fluid every day.
- Get fishy: Oily fish is the best ready-made source of essential omega 3 fats. They can’t be made in the body so need to be supplied in the diet. They are not only important for your heart health but there is mounting evidence that they help with mood swings and depression. If you don’t like oily fish, try eating walnuts, flaxseeds/ linseeds chia seeds, flaxseed oil and rapeseed oil or consider taking an omega-3 supplement, aim for a daily dose of 450mg – always check with your Doctor first before taking supplements!
- Make time for exercise: If you find it too hard in the evening when it’s dark outside, try going before work instead. Rounding up your colleagues to join you on your lunch hour will give you that added incentive to go, and it’s a great way to beat your mid afternoon slump.
- Don’t reach for the comfort food when you are feeling low or stressed: Refined carbohydrates such as white pasta or sugary foods like chocolate, cakes and biscuits will send blood sugar levels soaring and then crashing, which in turn leads to fatigue and low mood. Instead choose lean protein like chicken, fish and eggs as well as fibre rich foods such as wholegrain bread and pasta. These foods will help you feel fuller for longer and help keep your brain healthy.