Louise Sharkey Winter food can be just as healthy as salads.

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The holidays are long gone and January has brought the annual deluge of detox plans, weight loss programs and more new ways to deny and restrict ourselves. This time of year is depressing enough without the added pressure to start a program that is just not sustainable.

The first few months of the year can be cold and dreary. Salad leaves and cold juices are just not what we need right now. This is the time for nourishing and warming the body with good wholesome balanced meals, which are more appealing and will lead to natural detox and sustained weight loss over time.

So how do we achieve these long-term results?

What can we do to nourish and warm our bodies, support weight loss and detox,

and feel energised but not deprived?

Louise Sharkey from Vita Nutrition has put together these simple ideas to make it easier to maintain your healthy eating goals over the next 6-12 months and not just the next 6-12 weeks:

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) Take 2 teaspoons in a glass of cooled boiled water or filtered cold water before every meal. ACV is anti-bacterial, anti viral & anti fungal. Add it to salads in the summer or to warm water with some honey. It aids digestion, improves immunity, supports your blood sugar balance and acts as a probiotic. Ensure that you get “The Mother” unfiltered APV as this contains the probiotic. I recommend Braggs.
  1. Eat Protein with every meal. Protein takes longer to digest so it will help to keep you full for longer. Animal protein sources include meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, cheese (go for lean cuts from grass-fed animals); Plant protein sources include nut, seeds, legumes, grains. Try to get a balance of animal and plant protein throughout the week.
  1. Eat Good fats. Good fats don’t make you fat and can really assist in weight loss. Fats help you to feel fuller for longer. My ideal breakfast/lunch is half an avocado with poached eggs and lots of black pepper. I guarantee you will feel full for a lot longer than having just protein or just carb/fat source. Good sources of fats are avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, almond / nut butters. A great snack is an apple slice spread with some almond butter.
  1. Fill 3/4 of your plate with vegetables. Try and not have the same colour vegetables every day e.g. sticking to only broccoli and carrots. Lots of varied green leafy veg with white and yellow are all lovely to look at on the plate. Use different cooking methods eg. steaming, stir-frying and roasting to add variety. (I don’t recommend boiling as most of the nutrient lost in the water you pour down the drain)
  1. Limit carbohydrate to slow release forms such as brown basmati rice, wholegrain, sweet potato as they will not spike blood sugars as much as refined white sources (pasta, white bread, white rice). Ideally we want to prevent blood sugars from spiking up and down and keep them on an even keel so to prevent sugar cravings and fatigue.
  1. This time of year is an ideal time to make soups and stews from scratch. They are healthier and more filling. We need warmth. Soups are low in calorie and simple to make and but are definitely more satisfying than a salad this time of year. It is also a great way of getting nutrient dense vegetables into both you and your children. Add spice to these dishes like turmeric, cumin, chilli pepper or cayenne pepper. These add taste and help boost metabolism and immunity
  1. Get moving. There is no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing. Get outdoors. Invest in waterproof clothing and walk at least 4 days a week. If you are already active, try something new. Sign up for a 5km, 10km or half marathon race and set some goals to push you out of your comfort zone. It is a known fact that if you exercise you are more likely to make better food choices than if you sit on the couch thinking about it.
  1. Remove processed foods. Stay away from anything in a packet as they contain chemicals which the body has to work hard on eliminating. The less work the body has to do to remove toxins, the more energy it has to work on breaking down fats.
  1. Drink a minimum of 2 litres of water a day. This can be through herbal teas, greens teas, fresh fruit added to water, etc.
  1. Finally FAIL to PREPARE and you PREPARE to FAIL. Organisation is the key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle choice. Make a shopping list around what you are going to cook that week and stick to it. Don’t buy treat / processed foods to have in the press. Temptation is too great. Make sure you have lots of fresh fruit and veg in stock, and add hummus or nut butters as a healthy snack if you need it.


If any of this was of interest to you and you would like a private consultation please contact me on at Vita-Nutrition on (086) 6504704.

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