7 tips for staying healthy over winter

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eating and exercising over winter

Beth Meertens

Heart Foundation Spokesperson on Nutrition

Whether you’re seeking winter sun in the north, or (trying to!) stay warm in the south; it’s important to keep up your healthy eating habits and get your 30 minutes of physical activity a day.  

So, keep your heart healthy with these 7 healthy tips for winter.

1. Enjoy winter seasonal vegetables and fruit 

Grapefruit, kiwifruit, mandarins and oranges are all delicious and in season over winter. Try involving fruit in your breakfast if you’re not already, and add an extra serve of vegetables to each main meal. Broccoli, carrots and cauliflower are great winter vegetables, particularly for soups. Try this cauliflower and nut soup 

While fresh is best, don’t be afraid to stock the freezer up with cheap and easy additions to any meal. Get more fruit and vegetables tips.

2. Take time for tea 

Drinking tea dates back to ancient China, and in recent years the spotlight has been on its health benefits. Black and green tea are rich in plant chemicals, some of which are called flavonoids, which have antioxidant effects. In studies of people who drink tea regularly, their blood vessels were healthier and their risk of heart disease lower. Of course, many people who drink tea do other healthy things too, like eating more vegetables and doing more exercise so it can be hard to pinpoint the effect to tea-drinking alone. But why not take on all of these healthy things this winter: more vegetables, taking time to enjoy tea, and going for a walk every day. Find more information on healthy drinks

3. Stews, casseroles and leftovers 

A great winter warmer! Make your casseroles and stews with lots of vegetables to boost your meals with heart healthy foods. When cooking stews and casseroles remember to trim fat off meat before cooking and add kidney beans, chickpeas, soy beans or lentils for fibre, and use reduced salt stock. Making extra means lunch is sorted too. For winters desserts, stew some fruit and save some for breakfast for the next day. Learn more healthy cooking tips and see more of our healthy meal ideas.

4. Perfect your portions 

Winter is a great time to re-think the size of your meal, especially with foods such as rice, pasta and potatoes which, while delicious, can be easy to over-serve. Choosing a healthy amount for you can help to manage your weight, and free up space on your plate for more vegetables! Try using smaller plates when dishing up and waiting 20 minutes before heading back for seconds. Learn more here on how much of these foods you should be aiming for.  

Looking for winter walks?

If you live in or are visiting Australia’s cool-climate capitals: Adelaide, Canberra, Hobart and Melbourne this winter, we have some great urban trails for you. 

5. Get active indoors 

Join a team or a physical activity program. There’s lots of indoor activities to embrace over winter, such as yoga, bowling, dancing, soccer and so on. The key is making your  winter activity enjoyable and social. Try out your local indoor swimming pool; if you’re not a great swimmer try some simple aerobics moves in the shallow end. 

6. Sit less 

Get active around the house. Don't want to miss your favourite show? Try jogging or skipping on the spot or even just stretching while you watch. Try getting active gardening, cleaning, washing the dog or dancing. Have fun getting physical in the comfort of your warm home. Use an activity tracker to make sure you’re still getting your steps up. Set a target to achieve the same amount of steps you would complete over the warmer months. Get more tips on sitting less 

7. Rug up 

Keep an eye on the weather and if it’s not raining, get out outside and go for it. Once you get moving you’ll warm up. When you’re out and about look for incidental ways to exercise walk or cycle to the local shops instead of driving the car. Use the stairs instead of the lift or escalator. Join a Heart Foundation Walking group, or become a virtual walker and get active with friends to keep you motivated.