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Battling Winter Weight Gain

It happens every holiday season. Sharing festive moments can lead to a heavier number on the scale. But holiday overeating isn’t the only culprit when it comes to winter weight gain. The short, dark days of the season can affect our mood and our workouts, giving us excuses to not get outdoors and stay active.

Less sun can also cause us to sleep more than usual but still feel extremely tired, causing a lack of interest in activities and increasing the craving for carbohydrates and sweets.

To reduce or prevent additional weight gain in winter, try to stay physically active and soak up as much sunlight as possible. Eat a varied diet with food rich in fiber and protein, such as legumes and leafy green vegetables; these help balance blood sugar, which causes cravings for sweets and carbs. Check out the recipe below for inspiration on incorporating leafy greens as side dish to any meal.

Other tips for maintaining your weight and heart-health include:

  • Exercise 30 minutes a day.
  • Aim for seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
  • Control the risk of temptation by keeping goodies out of sight.
  • Limit yourself to one goodie per day.
  • Eat a healthy snack prior to attending a party.
  • Be wise when choosing portions.
  • Learn to say “No thank you.”
  • Focus on socializing away from the food table.

Recipe

Created by Chris Linaman, executive chef, Overlake Medical Center

Garlic-Sautéed Greens Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup vegetable stock or water
  • 1½ pounds leafy greens such as kale, with stems removed, chopped into thin strips
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons spiced pepitas

Directions:

  • Heat oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and sauté on low heat for one minute.
  • Add stock and greens and raise heat to high. Cover and cook for five minutes.
  • Remove cover and continue to cook greens, stirring frequently. Leaves should be slightly wilted and still retain a bright green color and a sweet, succulent flavor. When all liquid has evaporated, remove from heat.
  • Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle vinegar on top and garnish with spiced pepitas.