Winter food Choices for Staying Healthy and Active
- Holistic Nutritionist, Sandra Millward offers her top winter foods in a Q&A to stay active and healthy.
Top Winter Foods to Help Fuel You
Millward begins, “There are many philosophies on how to eat ‘properly’.”
It can be confusing for any person to navigate an active lifestyle and eating healthy. For example, the growing and popular plant-based diet are addressing not only supporting your body and but also of the health of the planet.
The popular Ketogenic Diet for weight loss and mental clarity, The Ancient Ayurvedic approach is to eat according to your Dosha Type, eat for your blood type, etc. etc.
In my practice, I assess the needs of the individual in front of me and what they need. I have folks either trying to increase performance, lose weight, gain weight or just feel better with more energy and to reduce depression. I have had the good fortune to serve as a Nutritionist to Olympic athletes, Actors, Mental Health sufferers, and anxiety clients. There is no cookie-cutter answer but there are some similarities that I have found in common with people that I am happy to share with you here at Livid Magazine.
Here is our Q&A:
Q. Are there better healthy food choices to pick in the winter and why?
SM: I think most people if they listen to their bodies know that vegetables should be at the base of every meal to provide nutrition and energy. I mention veggies because we don’t tend to reach for a fresh salad in the cold months but naturally choose warm foods. Adding densely rich vitamin and mineral vegetables are easy additions when creating dishes such as vegetable-based soups, warm beans, and legumes stews, and side dishes like steamed spinach and baked sweet potatoes.
Clean protein sources: Grass-Fed, Free Range and Organic whenever possible.
Eggs, almonds, chicken breast, oats, Greek yogurt and vegetarians seeking more protein load up with Broccoli, quinoa, lentils, pumpkin seeds, Brussel sprouts., tofu, edamame, nutritional yeast.
Boosters to add to any meal, smoothie or snack: Hemp seeds, spirulina, chia seeds, nut butter. Or, check out my website for the very yummy and much-loved Energy orbs: Protein Energy Orbs
I use both the protein of the almonds and protein powder along with the healthy Medjool dates as your clean fuel carbohydrate to slow Gluconeogenesis.*process of slowing down using other molecules for energy
Q: Does it help to add colorful vegetables to your plate when it comes to those who don’t eat a lot of vegetables or with children?
SM: Eating a rainbow of colored vegetables is beneficial for two reasons. #1. The more vegetables that you add to your plate, the more nutrients and minerals you are taking in #2. It is very appetite appealing seeing a colorful plate. You are more apt to eat those veggies if the presentation is pretty. After touring for 4 years in a row with young athletes (13-17) for an annual tournament in the USA, I still get parents emailing me asking for my cauliflower rice recipe. “Who would have thought my kid would like cauliflower?” – if you make it look nice with other vegetables to add to it, you are loading up with B, calcium, vita c, vita K, potassium and magnesium. That’s just your cauliflower serving now add a little beetroot, and some carrots and you have artwork on the plate that is loaded with full-spectrum nutrition and create an energy bomb for your body.
Q: What would a sample plate look like?
SM: The new Canada Food Guide released in Jan 2019 is a good start. As a Holistic Nutritionist, I tend to look more closely at the personal digestion of the individual and I would alter my plan with my client based on their specific needs and their specific food combining. In other words, if your digestion isn’t healthy, you can’t absorb nutrients properly, then some gut healing needs to accompany your vitamin-rich diet in order for you to receive all of the benefits.
Q: In a restaurant what would you suggest for healthy foods?
SM: I suggest eating what ‘feels’ good to you. If you are eating a salad and will be miserable because you really want a hamburger, then make the choice to eat what appeals to you on your special occasion. Happiness improves digestion. Eating at home where most of your meals are prepared is where you really build your foundation and where it counts. Many restaurants in the USA give you the breakdown of calories, and nutrients now so you could base your choices on that but my general rule of thumb when I am in a restaurant is that I avoid deep-fried foods, msg, too much butter and I rarely eat the bread basket or bun. I often ask for dressing on the side, Or lettuce leaf in place of a bun or bread.
Q: What is a superfood and what are your top food choices from the athlete to those working in the office?
SM: Superfoods are popular because they are packed with nutrition and you can either eat them or drink them. On the field or at your desk. There are many companies that have created a blend to simply mix with a liquid of your choice.
For my top Superfoods to eat at your desk or on the field are:
Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, avocado, leafy greens, green tea, eggs, sweet potato, mushrooms, nuts, seeds, fermented foods such sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, kefir, yogurt, kombucha, tempeh, quinoa, lentils and a wide array of beans with wild or brown rice.
Here is a list below of some top superfoods that you can shop for or find a preblended source that contains these Superfoods: