When the summer is over and the crisper Fall temperatures creep in, then most of us change our eating habits rather naturally. The salad that was such a great lunch all summer long just somehow does not seem like the right choice for a cool, windy day.
According to dietitians, there is a very good reason for thinking that way because our bodies naturally crave foods that are a little higher in fat and carbohydrates to use as fuel to keep them going in colder temperatures.
Eating anything warms up the body's core temperature a little, something that is rather important in terms of general well-being, especially when it comes to physical activity, as muscles work far better when they are warm.
All of this however does not mean however that you should ditch your healthy eating plan. There are ways however to give your body the extra cold weather fuel it needs to keep you going through the colder days (especially before and after workouts or exercise) without adding unhealthy or very fattening foods to your diet.
Here are just a few great suggestions for Fall fuel food:
Oatmeal with Cinnamon and Walnuts
Good old fashioned oatmeal is a fantastic fall fuel food. It is filled with fiber, which since it takes longer to digest will give you a longer lasting energy boost and it is, believe it or not, a great source of protein as well. By adding the walnuts you get even more protein and also a source of 'good" unsaturated fats. As an extra bonus, the cinnamon is a natural antioxidant that can help you ward off colds and flu.
A steaming hot bowl of chili on a cool day just sounds right doesn't it? In terms of nutrition it is a great choice too. The beans are full of protein and are also a good source of fiber and just one bowl can give you the energy you need to keep going for hours, however cold it is outside.
If you want even more of a boost from a bowl of chili add a small handful of low-fat grated cheese to the top for an even bigger shot of protein.
Turkey and Cheese Melt
Grabbing a sandwich for lunch is always pretty easy but is isn't always very healthy. If you do like to head to the deli at lunchtimes in the fall though, opting for a turkey and cheese melt is a great choice. The turkey provides lots of protein without adding too much fat and the cheese is a nice balance in terms of taste.
By asking for the sandwich to be made on wholewheat bread you will be adding fiber and omega 3 fatty acids and having the bread grilled or toasted gives the sandwich the warmth that we all crave from our food in colder weather.
Winter Fruit Salad
Salads can still be a part of a great cold weather diet and a fruit salad made with "winter" fruits like grapefruits and oranges is a great way to get lots of Vitamin C and anti oxidants to help ward off colds. If you add yogurt into the mix you will be getting a great tasting source of protein as well and the whole dish makes the kind of filling but not fattening food your body needs when the weather is cool.
Hot chocolate is another fall and winter staple that can actually be great cold weather fuel food if you drink it the right way. Make it (or order it) made with low fat or skim milk and try not to add sugar (if you really need the sweetness add an artificial sweetener). Why is it so good for you? The milk will give you an instant protein boost and the chocolate is a great source of antioxidants so it's a great after workout drink as well as a good afternoon pick me up choice.