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Tips for healthy eating during the winter months

Updated: 2014-01-21T18:11:12Z

By RENEE KELLY

All of us go through the holidays and tend to indulge in sugary sweets, which leave dieting at the top of our resolution list.

The average American gains 10 to 15 pounds from Halloween to Jan. 1. That’s a lot of pounds to shed.

Then on top of it we burden ourselves with making a gauntlet-style decision to sacrifice all things good when it is cold and dark. There really is no real motivation in the winter to shed those extra pounds.

It is a time when we need to rest and reflect on the year and nurture our bodies with wholesome food including stews, braised meats and vegetables. Think of it as preparation for the spring shake down when that extra weight will actually come off.

Tips for dieting in the winter:

• Eat cooked seasonal vegetables like rutabaga, parsnip, carrot; they are filling and have fewer calories than the almighty potato.

Naturally the vegetables that are available in the winter are more nutrient dense and take a little longer to break down. This means stewing, braising and roasting. See the recipe below.

• Eat often. In the winter our bodies crave calories so to curb your appetite, eat small often. Prepare your meals ahead of time, or at least have all your veggies cut so cooking is easy.

• Eat at the same time every day. This one I have a hard time with, but when I keep a food schedule, it works.

• Eat apple wedges and almond butter before your workout. This will give a burst of energy with the natural sugars.

• Eat within an hour after your workout. This gives your body nutrition to build muscle and burn fat. Get in your carbohydrates, brown rice, fruit, paired with lots of veggies and 50 grams of protein 50 grams of protein, at least. Try making turkey burgers ahead of time for a power packed post workout snack. Pair it with a tiny bit of goat cheese and brown rice or one slice of whole wheat bread. See the recipe below.

• Find a protein powder that works for you, vegetarian, whey, soy, and rice. There is a lovely raw protein powder from Garden of Life that works well with my diet. I mix it with a little almond milk.

• Even though you want to be really active to burn those calories, take the winter to be steadily active — walk, practice yoga, cycle indoors. Remember winter is the time to prepare and repair, not exhaust.

• Schedule “happy time” - something that you enjoy that does not involve food, like going to a show, playing with your family pet, games with the family. Being mentally and emotionally happy makes the appetite decrease just a bit.

• Water - drink lots of it. Winter is dry and sometimes we may confuse being thirsty for hungry.

So go at your New Year’s resolution with the mind set you have 365 days to be successful. Treat your body well while it is cold and dark while working towards your goal.

Butter Roasted Root Vegetable Medley with Cabbage and Leafy Greens

Makes 6 servings

1 each turnip peeled and quartered

2 each parsnip peeled and quartered

2 each beet root peeled and quartered

1 each green cabbage cut in half

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper

2 ounces olive oil

1 bunch Swiss chard, cleaned and blanched

2 ounces olive oil

1/4 cup white wine

Salt and pepper

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Toss turnip, parsnip and beets with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in oven until tender. Toss root vegetables with 2 ounces of olive oil when tender. On each half of the cabbage pour 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar. Place 1/2 ounce of olive oil on each half of cabbage. Roast in oven until golden brown.

For the chard, heat olive oil in sauté pan. Add the chard and sauté for 2 minutes. Pour in white wine (to deglaze the pan) let cook until liquid is evaporated. When cabbage is tender remove and carefully cut each half into thirds. Brush with remaining vinegar and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Turkey Burger

Makes 4 to 6 servings

1-1/2 pound ground turkey

1/2 cup mushrooms minced

1/2 of medium onion minced

1 tablespoon ginger grated

1 tablespoons cilantro

1 each clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1 tablespoon mustard

1/2 cup parsley

1/2 teaspoon cumin

Heat oven to 400 degrees if cooking inside and not on a grill. Mix all ingredients together. Patty into 6 8-ounce portions. Either cook on the grill or heat olive oil in a pan, sear on both sides of the burger until golden brown, and finish in a 400 degree oven about 10 minutes.

Renee Kelly is the owner of Renee Kelly’s Harvest in Johnson County. Her passion lies in changing the food system, one plate at a time. Her inspiration is Mother nature and the many growers in the Kansas City area.

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