The skies are darkening earlier, many of us are not only going to work in the dark but also coming home in the dark as well. As the winter months come upon us we may start to feel an increase in hunger. Many are known to pack on 5-10 pounds during these winter months. Are we losing our minds thinking that we are hungrier in the colder weather? Do our bodies really require more during this time? The answer is a little more complex than yes or no and there is actually research available to back it up.
Physiological as well as psychological components play a role when it comes to increased hunger in the winter months. Physiologically, in the colder weather our appetites tend to increase. This is most likely due to a drop in our body temperature and a self preservation mode that wants our body to heat up. Cue the comfort foods such as Mac and Cheese, mashed potatoes etc.. With an increase in these potentially high carbohydrate foods comes the spikes of blood sugars, which will lead to more and more food cravings. The vicious cycle continues throughout the winter months.
Psychologically in the darker days we are looking for more calorically dense richer foods. Darker days we tend to crave more “comfort foods”. This can also be seen for many when nighttime is the worse for cravings.
Stopping this cycle is easier than one thinks. Although we are craving high carbohydrate dense foods, our bodies do not necessarily require them. Having healthier items available and choosing higher fiber and protein rich options can increase our bodies temperature as well.
Below are some tips to help combat our winter cravings.
Get Outside – a daily dose of sunlight can be helpful during the winter months
Don’t skimp on the exercise
Stay away from seasonal goodies – or consume in moderation
Plan some low calorie comfort foods
Have Healthy snacks on hand