Beating those Winter blues

Beating those Winter blues - January can be a tough month to tackle

By Kaley Berg,

Dietetic Intern, Interior Health

January can be a tough month to tackle. With Christmas over and weather somewhat bleak, it is important to stay positive. Easier said than done. Health Canada estimates two to three percent of Canadians suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), while fifteen percent suffer from a milder form of “winter blues”. Keeping our bodies healthy and happy will have a positive effect on our minds too! Here are some food and nutrition ideas to keep you warm and spirited through this coldest month of the year.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin. Unfortunately, in Canada during the winter months we do not get enough sun exposure for our bodies to make vitamin D. Try to incorporate vitamin D into your diet with foods such as fish, liver, egg yolks and milk. Other foods that are sometimes fortified with vitamin D include yogurt, soy beverage, and orange juice (check the labels). Health Canada recommends adults get a total of 600 IU per day, or 800 IU if you are over the age of 70. However, other major organizations such as the Canadian Cancer Society recommend 1000 IU daily. They specifically recommend that Canadians supplement this amount during the winter months. Talk to your health care provider or a registered dietitian about a dose that is right for you.

Herbal Teas

Herbals have an ancient history of stimulating the senses, and curling up with a steaming cup of tea can make any day better. They are also a great way to stay hydrated without all of the added sugar that comes with many other beverages. Try an energizing tea to get you moving in the morning like peppermint, lemongrass or blackcurrant. In the evening try a tea to help with digestion, like lemon ginger. Or something to help you relax such as chamomile.

Crockpot Meals

Assemble dinner in the crock pot before heading to work or even the night before. It will cook all day and you will come home to dinner hot and ready. Studies show that eating together as a family is an important part of healthy living. Having meals such as this chili recipe prepped in advance makes it easier for busy families to gather around the table.

Turkey Black Bean Chili


2 tbsp vegetable oil 2 2tbsp tbsp(30 ml) (30 mL) vegetable oil

1 lb ground turkey 1 1lb lb(454 g) (454 g) ground turkey or ground chicken

1 onion , chopped1 1oniononions, chopped

2 cloves garlic , minced2 2cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp dried oregano 2 2tsp tsp(10 mL) dried oregano

1/2 tsp salt 1/2 1/2tsp tsp(2 mL) salt

1/4 tsp pepper 1/4 1/4tsp tsp(1 mL) pepper

2 tbsp tomato paste 2 2tbsp tbsp(30 mL) tomato paste

1 can (28 oz/796 mL) diced tomatoes 1 large 1can can(28 oz) diced tomatoes

1 can (19 oz/540 mL) black beans , drained and rinsed1 1can can(19 oz) black beanblack beans, drained and rinsed

1 small zucchini , cubed1 1small zucchinizucchinis, cubed

1/2 cup corn kernels 1/2 1/2cup cup (125 mL) corn kernels

3 tbsp chili powder 3 3tbsp tbsp(45 mL) chili powder

sliced Jalapeno pepper , (optional)Preparation

In large saucepan, heat 1 tbsp of the oil over medium-high heat; sauté turkey, breaking up, until its no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Drain off any fat and transfer turkey to the slow cooker.

In same saucepan, heat remaining oil over medium heat and cook onion, garlic, and oregano until softened, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker with all the remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 6-8 hours (or on high for 4 hours).

Serve garnished with sour cream or grated cheddar cheese.

Serves six.

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