Winter started early this year, with many areas of the country seeing snowfall even before Thanksgiving. The East Coast was blasted with a freeze that sent frost and snow as far south as the Carolinas. Temperatures across the country dipped into the  low 20s —  And that was just the first few weeks of winter.

It’s shaping up to be a particularly long, cold winter. But cold weather is no excuse to binge on booze and fatty comfort foods. It’s easy to reach for that mac and cheese, chili or homemade chocolate chip cookies when the weather stays dreary and cold outside, but you’ll most certainly regret it later. Here are a few tips to help you prevent winter weight gain:


Watch your alcohol intake

It might be tempting to pour yourself another glass of wine, or spike a little something in your hot chocolate, but on average, an alcoholic drink will add an extra 150 calories to your day. That can add up quickly if you’re making a habit of it throughout the winter season.


water works wonders

Cold weather can be dehydrating — those chapped lips are a sure sign of it. Why you’re dehydrated, your body sends out signals, which can sometimes trick you into thinking you’re hungry. Keep track of what you’re eating, so you don’t end up ignoring actual hunger, but after that, you might be able to take care of those fake hunger pangs with water.  Water, seltzer water, and unsweetened coffee and unsweetened tea are great fluid options for anytime. Keep a water bottle handy so you can sip throughout your day.


Exercise

Yup. You guessed it. No healthy living list is complete without it. Exercise. While it might not be safe for an outdoor run, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Head outside and shovel your driveway, hit the ski slopes, or even head to an indoor mall or indoor gym for a fast run or walk. Climb the stairs of the tallest building in your city or join a specialty gym and learn to climb or trampoline. I personally love hot yoga when it’s cold out. It’s like a sauna/workout all in one. Investing in a stationary bike or treadmill for your house is also a great option — whatever it is that will keep you moving.


Meal Planning

Take some time over the weekend to plan your meals for the week and stock up on the foods you need. When the weather is bitter cold, it’s unlikely you’ll be motivated to stop at the store several times for ingredients or healthy snacks. Make it a part of your week to preplan healthy meals and snacks like Greek yogurt, hummus, fruits, nuts and vegetables.

(h/t U.S. News & World Report)


Also see, Healthy snacks that are better than the original


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Author

Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.