“It’s like clockwork – I know that when every year when the days get shorter, colder, and darker, I’ll have several clients – who have been eating healthfully for months – start to struggle with a bit of the blues. This tends to set off powerful cravings for so-called ‘comfort foods’ high in refined processed sugar, carbohydrates and fat,” says Mary Smith, Director of Health Coaching for Real Food works, a healthy meal delivery service serving the NE U.S.
She notes that people who give in to these cravings soon learn that these foods actually work against them, contributing to their fatigue and depressive mood. In turn, this increases their cravings for more junk food … not a pattern anyone wants to take into the holidays!
“It’s time for a new definition of “comfort,” Mary says. She points to studies like a recent one from the British Journal of Psychiatry that shows how a whole, the plant-based eating pattern is a strong protective measure for combating depression. Individuals eating a diet rich in plant-based whole foods (heavily loaded with vegetables, fruits, and fish) were less likely to experience depression than those who ate fast foods, processed meats, refined grains and high-fat dairy products.
Mary has seen this in action. “We’ve had great results, with clients saying they’re enjoying their first holiday season with full energy. I love it when they get into January or February and realize they haven’t had so much as a sniffle all season, and they’ve had the energy to burn. That’s the value of real ‘comfort foods’!”
What to buy during the winter months? Mary recommends getting as many fruits and vegetables as you can, focusing on the ones deepest in color, for the highest nutritional value. When grocery shopping, reach for winter berries like cranberries, citrus fruits, beets, vibrantly colored carrots, and dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach and radicchio. She adds, “These foods, low in calories and high in nutrients and fiber, not only chase your blues away, but also aid in weight management and reduce your risk of chronic diseases.”
Want to try plant-based eating, but wish you had a personal chef to make it beautiful, delicious, and convenient? Real Food Works’ healthy meal delivery service might be your newest and most supportive BFF this winter. Beautifully prepared, great-tasting meals rich in seasonal vegetables arrive at your doorstep weekly, making it easy to stay healthy and happy all season. For more information, check out the plan options.