It’s always hard to say goodbye to summer, as it gets cooler and the days get shorter, it’s tempting to pull out the baggy clothes, binge watch your favourite shows and relax your healthy routine. Fall is a time of change and natural transition, as our girl mother nature prepares for winter, so should we. It’s the perfect time to reset your system, slow down and rejuvenate your health. I have provided some of my favourite foods to eat in the fall and winter to support your body through this transition period.
Making some small tweaks to our diet and healthy routines can prevent the common weight gain, flu, and keep you energized, warm, and balanced. Strong digestion is the cornerstone to good health, over 70% of our immune system resides in the gut. During the cooler months eating heavier and warming foods, strengthens your digestive “fire” which is the ability to assimilate food efficiently.
These tips and tricks will ignite your digestive fire, increase energy and keep your immune system in tip top shape.
Eat in season. Try shopping at your local farmers markets to pick up some in season local produce.
- Fruits should be kept to a minimum in the cooler months, eat seasonal fruits like apples and pears.
- Avoid too many raw foods during cooler months because they tend to cool the body and can deplete your digestive “fire”. Tip: If you love smoothies any time of the year, drink them at room temperature or try drinking them warm. Use spices such as ginger, cayenne, garam masala or cinnamon to bring more warmth to the body.
- Sip chai tea, cook with garlic, onions, chilli spices, cinnamon, ginger, enjoy soups, stews, steamed dark leafy greens, starchy carbs like oatmeal, quinoa, beans and root vegetables like squash and sweet potatoes.
Feed your beneficial gut bacteria.
- Consume probiotic rich foods: These sources are fermented and contain lots of good bacteria to help boost your immune system. Examples: kefir (fermented milk) and yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, pickled vegetables (NOT the commercial kinds!) miso soup, kimchi, tempeh. Tip: Yogurt should contain active and live cultures on the label.
Improve your energy and your mood.
- Eat healthy fats! Fats provide satiety, so you will feel full for longer. They help us combat dry skin, hair, they are burned for energy and balance blood sugar. Our brain is made of 60% fat, getting enough fats in our diet is essential for our mood and healthy brain function. Examples: Coconut oil, organic butter, nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocados, flax, chia, hemp seeds. Tip: These can also be added to your smoothies.
- Due to the lack of sunlight naturally our serotonin (the mood boosting hormone!) levels decrease. Eat foods that boost serotonin. Examples: Oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel. Also a good source of Vitamin D which is useful in the winter to combat seasonal affective disorder or the general “winter blahs”.
- Avoid caffeine! It taxes the adrenals and affects blood sugar, and suppresses serotonin.
This apple cinnamon oatmeal crumble, is straight out of my 21 Day Crunch Time Meal Plan. It is the perfect fall food, mixed with spices, warmed apples, fats and protein, it delicious and will leave your house smelling like fall.
Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats
Prep time: 15 minutes Serves: 3
- 1 1/2 cups dry rolled oats
pinch of salt
2 cups almond milk
2 tsp cinnamon powder
2 cups apple, diced
1 TB coconut oil
3 TB ground flax seeds
3 TB shredded coconut flakes
3 TB crushed walnuts
2 1/2 TB maple syrup
Mix together oats, salt and 1 tsp cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.
Add almond milk and maple syrup and mix. Cover bowl with a tightly sealed lid or store in a large mason jar in the fridge overnight or for at least 8 hours.
Once oats have absorbed the liquid, heat a pan over medium heat with coconut oil. Add diced apples and remaining 1 tsp cinnamon and sauté for approximately 5 minutes. Divide apple mixture among three mason jars, topping them with the oatmeal. Add one TB each of flax, coconut flakes and crushed walnuts to each mason jar. Serve and enjoy or store jars in fridge until ready to eat.
Give it a go and tag me on Instagram (@maya_nutrition) when you try it! I love to see all your awesome creations.