Eat with the season for a happy, healthy autumn

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It’s so easy, with the weather getting colder and the nights drawing in earlier, to veer off the weight loss track.

If, like me, you are already reaching for the cheese, junk food and chocolate, you may want to take a look at these top 10 ways to keep your weight in check during the winter months.

It is only natural for your body to want to lay down extra fat stores for the winter months because this behaviour goes back to our cave- man days.

However we now have the luxury of central heating and a much more sedentary lifestyle to contend with.

I have picked some in- season foods that will help your immune system as well as keep you feeling fuller and less likely to crave all the wrong things.

Follow my tips at the end to help keep you active and healthy through the winter months.

Apples

The nutrients found in apples can help prevent spikes in blood sugar and reduce the risk of a variety of chronic diseases.

Pears

Recent studies have shown that the skin of pears contains at least three to four times as many phenolic phytonutrients (essential compounds enhancing one’s health) as the fruit’s flesh.

These phytonutrients include antioxidants, anti-inflammatory flavonoids, and potential anti-cancer phytonutrients.

Winter squash

Butternut and pumpkin are just a couple of varieties of winter squash which act as a natural accompaniment to autumn cuisine.

Rich in flavour and high in nutrients, winter squash is one of the best buys of the season.

Cabbage

This seasonal vegetable has cholesterol-lowering benefits, and is also rich in fibre, particularly when steamed. Wild mushrooms

Mushrooms are really great to eat since they can help influence blood lipids, blood glucose, immunity and weight control.

They also offer many essential nutrients and antioxidants which the body needs.

Pomegranates

Considered the ‘jewel of the autumn’, pomegranates are a rich source of soluble and insoluble dietary fibres.

They are also a good source of vitamin C.

Root vegetables

All different kinds of root vegetables are great – carrots, turnips and swede, for example, are nutritional stars in both autumn and winter.

Tasty beetroots are also great as they are jam-packed with folate, vitamin C and magnesium.

And don’t forget to keep exercising. As soon as the nights start to get darker, our motivation to keep as active as we were in the summer months begins to wane.

Try not to give into the sofa too soon, though, and look for alternative ways to keep moving and burn those calories, such as a new exercise DVD or a class.

Also, make sure you keep an eye on cosy comfort food calories. As we start eating fewer salads and opt for more warming, hearty foods, portion sizes tends to increase as well.

Since this is also the time we start to reach for jumpers and cosy clothes, as well as becoming less active, the pounds can creep on. Enjoy the change in season but be conscious of portion size.

Don’t forget to drink (water that is!) When it’s warmer we consciously drink more water. But when it starts to get cooler we don’t consider this as much.

Drinking water helps keep skin hydrated and looking good. It maintains the body’s balance of fluids, but also helps keep calories in check as often we confuse hunger with thirst.

Email nikki@challenge-fitness.com with any health and fitness questions.

Nikki Caputa is a health and fitness coach who works one-to-one with clients and runs her own fitness camps where she trains groups.

Known as FAB Body Bootcamps, two are based in Fareham and one is in Portsmouth.

Nikki is also an ambassador for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.

Visit fabbodybootcamp.co.uk and challenge-fitness.co.uk.

Follow Nikki on Twitter @nikkifitmum1.