Tips to stay healthy this winter

Tips to stay healthy this winter

It may be cold outside, but winter need not be the unhealthiest time of year for you and your family.

Here are five tips to make sure that, even when your body is telling you to hibernate, you can keep healthy and fit.

Eliminate your sleep debt

Normally we sleep six-and-a-half hours a night, much less than the seven to nine hours.

But in winter, we naturally sleep more that normal because of the longer nights. "It is perfectly natural to adopt hibernating habits when the weather turns cold.”Use the time to catch up."

Drink more milk

It is very important to keep your immune system is in tip-top condition. Milk and dairy products such as cheese, yoghurt and fromage frais are great sources of protein and vitamins A and B12.

They are also an important source of calcium, which helps keep our bones strong. Try to go for semi-skimmed or skimmed milk – rather than full-fat – and low-fat yoghurts.

Eat more fruit and veg

When it is cold and dark outside, it can be tempting to fill up on unhealthy comfort food, but it is important to ensure you still have a healthy diet and include five portions of fruit and veg a day.

If you find yourself craving a sugary treat, try a juicy clementine or satsuma instead, or sweet dried fruits such as dates or raisins.

Winter vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, swede and turnips can be roasted, mashed or made into soup for a comforting winter meal for the whole family. Explore varieties of fruit and veg that you may not normally eat.

Try new activities for the whole family

Don't use the cold winter months as an excuse to stay in and lounge around. Instead, get out with the whole family to try out a new activity – maybe ice skating, or taking a bracing winter walk on the beach or through the park.

Regular exercise helps control your weight, boost your immune system, and is a good way to break the tension that can build if the family is constantly cooped up inside the house.

Winter is the perfect season for porridge. Eating a warm bowlful on a cold morning isn't just a delicious way to start your day, it also helps boost your intake of starchy foods and fibre.

These give you energy and help you feel fuller for longer, stopping the temptation to snack mid-morning. Oats also contain lots of vital vitamins and minerals.