Cold Weather and Comfort Food – Why Do We Crave It??
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Cream Soup, Chocolate, Ice Cream, French Fries each of us has a list of favorites we crave as the temperature drops. It seems as the days get colder and darkness envelopes us for a larger part of the day the comfort cravings get stronger. Why do we get so hungry as the season changes and why do we crave comfort foods? As it turns out it’s not in our heads and we are not alone. Because the days get dark earlier, we're biologically compelled to seek out more food at once and eat faster than usual. In these cold month’s we are actually more active than we realize. While it’s hard to argue that shivering is equal to exercise our bodies do use extra energy trying to heat up. In turn, we need more energy replenishment in the form of food. Aside from the physical, the cold dark days can take a toll on us emotionally. The days seem over as soon as the sun sets. When life seems darker we crave foods that have a nostalgic tie like meals mom used to make when we were little. This reminds us of special relationships and quells the feelings of isolation. The good news is there are a host of healthy substitutes that can still taste fantastic. Soups and stews are a terrific idea in the winter as long as they are not cream based and loaded with high fat meats instead pack them with vegetables! If you crave potatoes opt for sweet potatoes. Baked apples with cinnamon are delicious and can be topped with yogurt or ice cream, if you need to indulge. Replacing part of the cream or sour cream in a recipe with low-fat yogurt can help satisfy your craving without piling on the pounds when the temperatures begin to drop. Don’t forget to exercise when you can! Engaging in outdoor activities when temperatures allow can both burn calories and boost your mood!