Avoiding the “Winter Blahs”

February is when we start to feel sick of winter and excited for spring to start. The ‘winter blahs’ are when you’re just fed up with Old Man Winter and find yourself in a rut. For some people this means sitting on the couch watching reruns and cooking the same meals day in and day out. Spaghetti on Monday, chicken casserole on Tuesday, meatloaf on Wednesday… It gets a bit dull, doesn’t it? Combine the cold weather with sad looking fruits and vegetables at the grocery store and it can be all too easy to fall into a meal routine and stick with it. One of the best ways to get yourself out of a rut is change what you’re eating and try something new. Some of us were keen enough to make New Year’s Resolutions and most of us threw them out the window two weeks later. You don’t need a New Year’s Resolution to start eating better. You just need to be bored of eating the same things every day and fed up with feeling blah!  Here are some ideas to get you started:

Get on board with Meatless Mondays

Meatless Monday is a movement that challenges people to go without meat for a full day (as the name suggests, on Mondays, but it could be any day of the week). When you give yourself the challenge of going without meat for a day, you’re forced to try new things. Plus, meals without meat typically have more vegetables that are high in fibre, vitamin A and potassium. Try this recipe for lentil and parsnip soup – you could add potato to make it heartier, or serve with a thick slice of whole grain bread:  http://buenovida.com/2012/12/18/french-lentil-soup-with-parsnip-and-apple-vegan/

Add a healthy dose of flavour to your Meals

Adding a new spice or seasoning to your meal can make it seem brand new. Mix up your usual roast chicken by adding curry powder. Try adding chopped cilantro your chili. Pick up a spice at the grocery store and challenge yourself to give it a go – cinnamon with your supper? Why not? Try this Moroccan stew that uses cinnamon and ginger to complement sweet potatoes. It could also double as a meatless meal by subbing out the chicken for chick peas!  http://www.marthastewart.com/312876/moroccan-chicken-stew-with-sweet-potatoe

Go against the Grain

Most Canadians eat a lot of wheat. And potatoes. Both of these foods are nutritious options, but we get more vitamins and minerals when we eat a variety of whole grains. Potatoes are grouped in with the grains because they’re starchy. Your challenge here is to not eat the same grain twice in one day. That means that if you have oatmeal for breakfast and a sandwich made with whole-wheat bread for lunch, try to have brown rice or quinoa with your supper. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a nutrition powerhouse – it’s high in protein, fibre, magnesium and iron. It has a delicious nutty flavour and can be cooked in the same manner as rice. This recipe could be added as a side dish to your usual pork or chicken at supper, or it could be enjoyed on its own as a healthy lunch:  http://www.oprah.com/food/Killer-Quinoa-Salad-Recipe_2

For more information about any of these tips or for a personal nutrition assessment, make an appointment with one of our Registered Dietitians by calling 639-3663. We hope to see you in 2013!