With 4 pm sunsets, freezing weather, and tons of tempting treats, staying healthy during the holidays and through the winter can be tough. That said, now is the time to prioritize winter wellness and stay on track with your goals! Don’t get us wrong, we’re all for letting loose and enjoying the holiday season. But, why let the winter freeze your motivation? Rather than wait till January or the Spring to kickstart your goals, wouldn’t it feel so great to stay healthy and motivated this time of year? If you’re thinking, ‘yes, but how?’ With help from our Winter Wellness Guide, of course! That’s right, we’ve got everything you need to thrive and stay healthy during the winter season.
Ahead, comforting seasonal eats, healthy holiday treats, cold-weather fitness tips, and the best stress-busting tips for the busiest time of the year. With a little planning and mindfulness, winter may just be your healthiest season yet.
Seasonal Eats, Warming Winter Treats, & Immune Support
The winter season is all about grounding down with nourishing seasonal foods, boosting your immunity to keep you healthy through the cold winter months, and of course, indulging in tasty (but healthy) treats through the holiday season and beyond!
Seasonal Winter Foods
Seasonal eating supports local farmers and reduces your carbon footprint. And, by eating local and seasonal, oftentimes your food is both cheaper and nutritious! Add these yummy winter foods to your grocery list:
Citrus Fruits: Oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit
Other Seasonal Winter Fruits: : Pineapples, pears, apples, bananas, kiwi, avocado
Greens: Swiss chard, kale, herbs, collard greens, brussels sprouts, celery
Root & Cruciferous Veggies: Turnips, parsnips, beets, onions, carrots, cabbage
Pumpkin, Potatoes, & Squash: Winter squash, sweet potatoes, yams, potatoes
Looking for winter meal inspo? Here are some healthy and hearty ideas:
- Spaghetti squash made with kale and pesto
- Warming chili made with winter squash and beans
- One-pot lentil curry
- Lentil-stuffed sweet potatoes
- Chicken soup made with seasonal veggies
For something quick, cozy, and ultra-nourishing, try this Nourishing Butternut Squash Soup.
- ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 butternut squash, peeled and chopped
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 fresh sage
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 1 carrot, chopped
- ¾ cup canned coconut milk
- 4 garlic, minced
- 2 apples, chopped
- ¼ tsp black pepper
Option #1 (Slow cooker): Add everything to the slow cooker except the coconut milk. Cook on low for 6-8 hours until squash is completely tender. Add the coconut milk to the slow cooker. Use an immersion blender to blend to a smooth consistency. You could also use a regular blender and blend in batches. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Option #2 (Stovetop): Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat with a swirl of olive oil. Add the onions and cook for 6-8 minutes until tender. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the butternut squash, carrot, apples, vegetable broth, salt, sage, nutmeg, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a simmer and cover. Cook for 35-40 minutes until the squash is tender. Add the coconut milk and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. It can also be blended in a regular blender.
Build Your Defenses: Keep Immunity Strong
Vitamin D: The Sunshine Supplement
With shorter, darker days and less exposure to sunlight, there’s a good chance you’re deficient in vitamin D, the sunshine hormone. Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system and is especially important during the winter (aka cold and flu season!). Immunity aside, vitamin D is important for our mood and mental health!
If you’re spending most of your days indoors, speak with your doctor about taking a vitamin D3 supplement. Another tip? Consider loading up your diet with Vitamin D-rich foods such as mushrooms, egg yolks, and salmon.
Immune Boosting Superfoods
And, if you really want to maintain good health, try adding some immune-supporting foods to your diet, such as:
- Manuka honey
- Bone broth
Or, try sipping on this homemade immunity support shot — no blender needed!
- 2-inch knob of fresh ginger
- 2-inch knob of fresh turmeric
- 1 lemon, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 orange or grapefruit, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 tsp raw or Manuka honey (optional)
- pinch of black pepper (optional)
Step #1: Add all of the above ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. If having difficulty blending, double the recipe or blend with 1-2 tbsp water or coconut water. Option to substitute water for an additional orange or cup of citrus.
Step #2: Using a nut milk bag, strain the liquid mixture over a bowl or glass, squeezing out as much juice as possible. Enjoy immediately, or store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator.
Healthy Winter Sweet Tooth Swaps
Let’s face it, the winter season is filled with tempting treats. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, and Valentine’s Day, there’s sugar everywhere this time of year. The good news is that by swapping some of the not-so-healthy ingredients for more nutritious alternatives, you can indulge without guilt.
Try these healthy sweet tooth swaps:
- Banana nice cream vs. Dairy-based ice cream
- Natural Sugar (from maple syrup, dates, or honey) vs. Refined sugar
- Greek Yogurt vs. Heavy cream, sour cream, or cream cheese
- Nut Milk (such as oat, cashew, or coconut) vs. Dairy-based creamer
And if you’re a Starbucks lover, this goes for your favorite holiday drinks, too! Find out how to make healthy swaps and learn the sweetest way to fill your Starbucks red cup without all the added sugar.
Winter Workouts: Stay Active & Motivated Despite Cold Weather
Mustering up the motivation to move when it’s dark and cold isn’t always easy. So if you’re feeling uninspired, you’re not alone! Luckily we’ve got some cold-weather workout tips to help you stay committed to your fitness goals, even in the rough of winter.
Stretch It Out To Prevent Injuries & Tight Muscles
Try kicking off your morning routine with a simple yoga flow or winding down the day with a calming stretch. In addition to stretching your muscles, yoga provides the added benefit of grounding down and connecting with our breath, which can be especially beneficial during this chilly season.
Even if we’re moving less during winter, stretching is just as important — cold weather can cause tight muscles and increase the risk of injury. Luckily, stretching it out with a yoga routine can do wonders for your body — and your brain! According to countless research studies, yoga helps regulate the stress response by reducing the stress hormone cortisol and has also been shown to reduce anxiety and depression while boosting energy and confidence.
Consider adding some FitOn yoga flows to your Winter wellness routine this season!
Maintain Motivation with Indoor Workouts
Don’t let a little cold weather stand between you and your fitness goals! If the weather is preventing you from moving outdoors, get moving with an indoor workout. Open up the FitOn app and press play on a workout that you can do from the comfort of your very own home!
Prioritize Mindful Movement Throughout the Day
When it’s raining, snowing, or downright cold, it can be tempting to curl up on the couch with a blanket and post up for the day. But prioritizing mindful movement throughout the day makes a difference — a big difference — especially during the winter months when we’re moving less!
Here are some ideas:
- Park further away from your destination
- Do your holiday shopping in person instead of ordering online
- Walk your dog an extra loop around the block
- Take a stroll to get your coffee instead of driving
- Get active with winter activities like hiking, snowboarding, or skiing
- Think of winter chores (like shoveling snow) as an opportunity for exercise
Winter Wellness: Self-Care, Stress Management, & Beating the Winter Blues
Think of the winter season as a time to recharge both your mental and physical energy. Use this time to fill up your cup! Try to prioritize self-care, maintain sleep hygiene with a healthy evening routine, and beat the winter blues with stress-management techniques like meditation and journaling.
Prioritize Your Well-Being with Winter Self-Care
Self-care can sound like some mythical luxury that *must be nice* but in reality, self-care is very much a necessity. Just as it sounds, self-care is simply taking care of YOU!
Here are some ways to sneak in some extra you time:
Set aside 10-minutes of quiet time for just you and your thoughts. Try a solo outdoor walk or wake up 10 minutes before everyone else!
Pick up a new hobby or skill. When you’re planning out your goals for the new year, is there anything you’ve always wanted to try or make time for? Well, now is the time!
Spend uninterrupted time with loved ones. Sign out of work early, power down your devices, and embrace the benefits of connection and love.
Make a new yummy winter recipe. Using the above tips on seasonal winter foods, have fun in the kitchen and whip up a new recipe you’ve been wanting to try like a warming winter soup.
Try on skincare as self-care. Beyond face masks and spa days (but add those to the list, too) try developing a minimalistic daily skin care practice. And as you moisturize and nourish your skin, why not make it a self-care vibe — light a candle, play some calming music, and diffuse an aromatherapy blend! A little extra TLC goes a long way. To combat the winter dryness, try our 30-Day Glowing Skin Challenge!
Mood-Boosting Hacks to Beat the Winter Blues
The winter blues isn’t *all in your head* — it’s actually a real mental health condition known as SAD, seasonal affective disorder, which has been shown to directly impact mood, energy, and mindset. So if you’re feeling a little down, take steps to boost your mood and mental health. And, if you think you may be dealing with SAD, reach out to your doctor or health care provider. There’s support available!
Boost your mood with gratitude and positive affirmations. Shifting your mindset to a positive way of thinking has been shown to have major benefits on mental health! Take a few moments to reflect on something you’re grateful for and build yourself up with a compliment. Maybe even write it down on a sticky note and post it on your mirror!
Load up your diet with mood-boosting foods. Foods like berries, salmon, oats, and cacao pack some serious mood and health benefits! Not to mention the fact that a wholesome and balanced diet is key for balancing blood sugar. With balanced blood sugar, you’ll be less likely to feel hangry throughout the day!
Try Red Light Therapy: With shorter and darker days, red light therapy may be a welcome addition to your wellness routine this winter season. Some studies have shown that red light therapy may have a positive effect on those with SAD.
Wind Down & Rest Up: Winter Sleep Care
It’s no shock that we live in a fast-paced society. Use the shorter, dark winter days to your advantage by slowing down, resting up, and prioritizing your sleep routine!
Try these sleep-supporting tips:
- Avoid blue light at least one to two hours before bed, and power down your electronics!
- Cozy up to a comforting cup of sleep-supporting herbal tea like lavender or chamomile.
- Try a sleep meditation, like this FitOn meditation with DeAndre.
- Take a warm bath infused with a few drops of lavender essential oil to get you in a sleepy state.
- If you have the midnight munchies, reach for a sleep-supporting snack like tart cherry juice or almonds.
Recommit To Your Health this Winter
Recommit to your goals with a little inspiration from our Winter Wellness Guide. If you’re feeling less than motivated this season, that’s totally normal. Try not to judge yourself! Instead, start small by choosing one area to focus on. Maybe you start with nutrition and add some nourishing winter wellness foods to your diet, maybe you get your sleep in check with a new bedtime routine, or maybe you commit to adding more movement into your day. Once you achieve those goals, continue building with additional healthy lifestyle changes! Before you know it, you’ll be crushing the winter season and looking in the mirror at a healthier, more balanced you.