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MSWA Bulletin Magazine Winter 2022

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Farewell Sue Shapland | Pain and pain management series: Part 5 | MSWA's Employment Support Service | Tips for staying motivated over winter


DIETETICS HEALTHY EATING THIS WINTER ARTHUR QU MSWA DIETICIAN It’s common to feel hungrier in winter. One study has shown we have lower serotonin (the hormone that controls appetite) levels during cooler seasons, making us crave carbohydraterich foods. Other factors – like less fruit and vegetable variations, outdoor activities, and indulging in more comfort foods like curries, pastries, pasta bakes etc – also make it harder to maintain a healthy weight. So what can we do to maintain our weight or even reach our weight goals during winter? Keep active and healthy In winter the days are colder, it gets dark more quickly, and people are less enthusiastic about outdoor activities. However, indoor exercises are just as good. Going to the gym, doing yoga, or talking to your physiotherapist for an exercise program tailored for you, will help to keep your body moving in the colder months. There is a growing amount of research that points out Non- Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) plays an important role in shifting our metabolism. This includes incidental exercises, such as parking your car away from the shops, stepping up stairs, even folding clothes, putting the washing on, and helping cook dinner. Monitor your weight Whilst dressing like a snowman fits the bill during wintertime, the extra clothes mean we might not notice an increase in body fat. So, it’s a good idea to hop on a scale to regularly monitor your weight, or keep a track of your waist measurement. Feeding myths There’s limited strong evidence that winter directly affects our body weight. Studies that have suggested this tend to be from the US, where wintertime is often overlapped with holiday seasons, and is likely a co-factor to this overindulging. So try not to give yourself psychological permission in winter to add additional comfort foods into your diet on a regular basis. This doesn’t mean you’re going to have boring, low-calorie meals and freeze up. 30

Here are some practical tips to help you enjoy your winter meals and snacks whilst maintaining the healthiest version of you: / Include meat-free dishes and light soups early in the week, to make room for heavier meals later in the week. This is also an easy way to get in a variety of vegetables and lentils. / Include mostly homemade meals rather than take-away meals and desserts. We know they’re convenient, but people tend to overeat them, and indulge in larger portions. / Hero your vegetables, eg, replacing a layer of lasagne sheets with zucchini slices and swapping most of the pasta in pasta bake with vegetables. / Use cauliflower rice/risotto in curries and pastas, or mixing in 50/50 with your rice or pasta. / Use low-fat pastries, eg, filo over puff. / Replace a few milky hot drinks with herbal teas or low-calorie alternatives (eg, Jarrah hot chocolate) throughout the day. Finally, we know it’s more difficult in winter to get the required amount of vitamin D from the sun. Did you know you can leave your mushrooms outdoors in a sunny area for an hour before eating them? They’ll absorb vitamin D for you! VEGETABLE LASAGNE Ingredients / 750g zucchini, cut into thin slices / 500g butternut pumpkin, peeled / 4 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes / 8 garlic cloves, chopped / ⅓ cup basil, torn / 2 bunches English spinach, trimmed and washed / 600g fresh lasagne sheets / 100g (¾ cup) finely grated parmesan cheese / Rocket leaves, to serve Cheese sauce / 40g butter, chopped / 90g plain flour / 750ml (1.5 cups) milk / 375g tub of low-fat ricotta cheese / 75g (¾ cup) grated low-fat cheddar cheese Method 1. To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan, add the flour and stir over low heat until the mixture is dry and grainy. Gradually whisk in the milk and slowly bring to a simmer. Add the ricotta, cheese and season to taste. 2. Meanwhile, thinly slice your pumpkin, pop into a microwave-safe container and heat until soft. 3. In a separate bowl, mix the tomatoes and their juice, 2 tablespoons EVOO, garlic, basil, and spinach. This will form your red-based sauce. 4. Rub butter over the sides and base of a 3-litre heatproof casserole dish (about 19cm x 35cm x 7.5cm) and place a layer of pasta over the base. Top with zucchini slices, then half the tomato sauce. Top with one-third of the white sauce, then a layer of pasta, a layer of pumpkin, another third of the white sauce and another layer of pasta. Top with the remaining tomato sauce and another layer of pasta. Spread the remaining white sauce over the top and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. 5. Place the dish on an oven tray and bake for 45 minutes, or until browned and bubbling. Let stand for 10 minutes, then serve with a rocket salad. 31

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