Healthy eating in winter: 7 tips for eating well when it’s cold | BHF

Dietitian Victoria Taylor gives tips on how to eat healthily through the cold winter days and nights. 

With the colder winter weather come coughs, colds and the flu season, plus, for some of us, winter weight gain. It’s an important time to make sure you stay on top of your diet and keep yourself well nourished.

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Sticking to a healthy diet won’t prevent you from picking up winter illnesses, but it can help maintain your immune system to better protect you. And should you fall ill, a nutritious diet can help speed up your recovery.

In winter, it can seem harder to stick to heart-healthy lifestyle changes, such as eating plenty of fruit and veg. The range of seasonal fruit and vegetables declines at this time of year, and the weather can make getting out and about less appealing. However, while daylight may be in short supply, there are still ways that you can look after your diet and your heart health. Here, we share our tips on how to get through a cold winter’s day.

1. Fight illnessWoman with the flu, sneezing

When you have flu, it’s important to keep eating and drinking, even if you don’t feel like it. Use your store cupboard and freezer to keep a store of meals that are easy to cook and prepare. Just make sure you check the nutritional information of any pre-prepared foods. Go for low-saturated fat and low-salt versions whenever possible.

2. Get your 5-a-day

Boost your 5-a-day by mixing mashed potato with other root vegetables like parsnips, carrots and turnips.

3. Avoid comfort eating

The cold weather and long nights can increase the temptation to comfort eat in the winter. Try our 7 heart-healthy comfort recipes for warm and filling meals that are still good for you. 

If you’re craving a snack between meals, try a cup of homemade vegetable soup or a bowl of stewed fruit to fill the gap. Almost any leftover vegetables can be made into soup, perhaps with a tin of cannellini or butter beans to make it more substantial.

4. Cut costs by planning ahead

A top down image of vegetable soup, surrounded by fresh vegetables

Planning ahead can help you make sure you’re eating a healthy, balanced diet, while minimising the chance you’ll buy takeaway or waste food in the fridge. To help get you started, we’ve planned seven days of healthy meals on a budget, that tally up to less than £55 for two people.

5. Shop online

If you find it difficult to get out and about when it’s cold and icy, try an internet shop to get the bulky heavy items brought to your door (if you don’t have internet access, some supermarkets also take orders by phone). Getting out is important though, so try to do this whenever you are shopping for a few small items and you don’t have heavy bags to carry.

6. Buy frozen

Don’t be afraid of using frozen vegetables – they are sometimes more nutritious than fresh and will last well in the freezer so there’s no waste.

7. Get inspired for each meal of the day

When you’re trying to eat well, having a list of go-to meals that are exciting and nutritious can help keep you on track. We’ve got healthy recipes to cover you for every meal of the day.

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Hands hugging a cup of tea

Updated December 2022

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