Stick To Your Diet Even When You Have A Cold

Having a cold is absolutely no fun. You feel terrible, have little energy, and sometimes you crave foods that are definitely not on your weight loss plan. Sticking to your diet when your nose is running and you feel lousy is challenging but you can do it. Here’s why it’s hard to stick to your diet when you have a cold and what you can do to avoid blowing your diet.

Why Having a Cold Makes You Want Certain Foods

There is no definitive answer to the question of why being sick makes you want certain foods, but there are three likely causes:

1) Childhood conditioning

If your mom was like mine, she fed you certain foods when you got sick. For my brother and me it was powered Jell-O mixed with water (which sounds disgusting now), salty chicken noodle soup, oranges, and sandwiches on soft white bread.

2) Hormones

When you have a cold, you might have trouble sleeping. A lack of sleep increases your cravings because of the two hormones ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin tells your brain when it is time to eat, and the hormone increases when you haven’t gotten enough sleep, which makes you want to eat more often. To make matters worse, leptin, the hormone that helps you know when you are full, decreases when you are sleep deprived.

3) You believe the old saying “Feed a cold, starve a fever.”

Although there may be some scientific truth to the adage, if you feed your cold with too much junk food, you can easily gain weight while you are recovering. Although you could lose it with some effort, gaining weight when you want to lose it can cause you to falter in your weight loss effort.

Which Comfort Foods Work for Colds and Weight Loss

Some people like salty foods when they are sick and others prefer sweet foods. No matter which type you prefer, there are healthy comfort foods that satisfy cravings without blowing your calorie budget.

Try some of the following:

  • Chicken noodle soup
  • Pretzels dipped in hummus
  • Fruit popsicles made with real fruit
  • Frozen banana chunks dipped in 1 tablespoon of melted dark chocolate chips
  • Five saltine crackers and a bit of cheese
  • Tangerines, oranges, or grapefruit
  • Fruit smoothies
  • Yogurt
  • Hot tea with lemon and honey

Which Foods to Avoid When Sick and Dieting

There are no foods you can’t eat when you have a cold unless your doctor says so, but there are some I avoid when I have a cold. For example, if I start eating chocolate when I have a cold, my weakened willpower becomes weaker and I eat way more than I normally would.

Some other foods to avoid when you are fighting a cold and trying to lose weight are:

  • Sugary foods
  • High-calorie salty foods like chips or peanut-butter-filled pretzels
  • Fatty foods such as burgers dripping with grease, bacon, and fried foods
  • Fast food
  • High calorie drinks

Getting Back on Track After You Feel Better

You might be coming off a cold and looking to get back on track. It’s not ideal to have blown your diet when sick, but it is possible to bounce back.

The first step is to stand on the scale and see if you’ve gained a bit of weight back. If you have, get back on your eating plan. You will quickly drop those few pounds and be on your way once again.

Now Weiner has also written an e-book, The Ice Diet. It’s free—part of his stated wish “not to get lumped in with the counter-productive fad diet (snake oil) promoters.”

As a practicing gastroenterologist, Weiner says he regularly avoids micromanaging food selection. He manages obesity as an illness and diets as part of a holistic approach to good eating. “I would usually cringe when patients brought up the weight loss diet of the day, usually some poorly documented and improbable strategy. I never thought I would be actively promoting and discussing weight loss diets.”

But now he is, so, what’s to know about using Weiner’s ice diet?

Samuel John/Flickr

When you eat a significant amount of ice, your body burns energy to melt it. Eating ice should, by the logic of this diet, also provide some level of satiety, if only so far as it physically fills space in the stomach and mouth.

By Weiner’s calculations, ingesting one liter of ice would burn about 160 calories, which is the energy equivalent of running one mile. So you get to eat and burn calories. Ever since the death of upward mobility, that has been The American Dream.

What’s more, it’s probably safe. “Ingesting ice at this level should not have any obvious adverse consequence in otherwise healthy persons,” Weiner, who trained at Johns Hopkins, writes. “For the vast majority of adults and children, there does not appear to be any contraindication to the use of the Ice Diet right now.”

One piece of evidence for the safety of ingesting substantial amounts of ice, Weiner notes, comes from the case study of the 32-ounce 7/11 Slurpee, from which he concludes, “The ingestion of one liter of ice per day appears to be generally safe.”

At some point beyond that liter, too much ice can be a problem. In the case of one obese person who attempted to eat seven quarts of ice per day, Weiner says, “Not surprisingly, this person suffered an uncomfortable feeling of coldness.” In his professional opinion, that much ice per day would, for most people, be a “toxic dose.” He recommends avoiding eating much more than the Slurpee-tested one liter of ice daily, “to avoid hypothermia or unusual cooling of the body. … Some organs do not work optimally when the body temperature drops too much.”

“For children using the Ice Diet, the amount of ice ingested should be monitored and related to their body weight and ability to report any problems that they might be having by ingesting ice.” Do not put ice into the mouths of children who can’t tell you if their brain has frozen.

For much the same reasons, use caution when using the ice diet during cold weather, Wiener says. Don’t eat ice on the ski slopes or while shoveling the walkway.

Don’t eat ice when you’re too hot, either. After running, for example, the body actually exerts energy through the active effort of dissipating excess heat that builds up during exercise. “If one were to ingest large amounts of ice as one was cooling off from exercise,” The Ice Diet warns, “some of the heat that had been generated by the exercise would be neutralized by the coolness of the ice, minimizing some of the energy burning benefits of the exercise.”

Additionally, the environment adds even naughty temptations from well-intended Co-workers bringing in extra treats to share. It’s not surprising that most of us gain weight during winter. Thankfully, you can still make healthy choices, even during fall and winter. Being intentional with your food choices will help.

Meal Prep Snacks

Meal planning is an important strategy in successful healthy eating. Here are a few tips to help you along the way:

  • Decide on several healthy snacks you enjoy
  • Once a week, cut up fresh produce and portion out snacks
  • Always have a few options nearby
  • Eating regularly to avoid last-minute unhealthy decisions
  • Schedule a small snack or meal every few hours

Keep a Food Diary

If you find that holiday treats disappear around you quickly, you might benefit from keeping a food diary. By tracking everything you eat, you’ll be much more aware of what’s going into your body. Your food diary doesn’t have to be complicated. You can even take advantage of the many apps available on your smartphone for tracking calories. No matter how you do it, a food diary can keep you on track and accountable during cold-weather months.

Think about Portion Sizes

Although portion control doesn’t sound exciting, it’s the best way to have your cake and eat it too. With comfort foods and decadent desserts taking the stage during fall and winter, it’s not realistic to deprive yourself all the time. But that doesn’t mean your healthy eating plan is finished. Portion control is key. Use smaller plates or split servings in half to share with a friend.

Bring Your Own Food and Eat Before Parties

With cold weather comes holiday parties filled with delicious foods. Prepare yourself to eat healthy by filling up on something healthy before you leave home. Eating a small salad or an apple beforehand will curb your hunger, and help you make better decisions with your food. When attending parties, you can also volunteer to bring a healthy dish. That way you’ll know there’s at least one healthy thing you can eat.

Have a Plan for Indulgences

Between trick-or-treat leftovers, holiday cheer, and goodies from the neighbors, fall and winter have become the time for indulgences. Heading into cooler weather without a plan about how to handle these indulgences is a recipe for disaster. Instead, decide ahead of time when or what you’ll indulge in. One way to do this is to decide on specific times (once or twice a week) or holidays where you’ll allow yourself to indulge. You can also make a list of your favorite winter-time indulgences, and only splurge from items on that list. No matter how you decide to do it, having a plan will help you make the choices you need to make to enhance your health.

Embrace Healthy Cold-Weather Foods

The changing of the seasons doesn’t automatically mean that all things must be rich in carbohydrates and/or sugar. Many cold weather foods make healthy options. Broth-based soups, squash, and roasted vegetables are all good ways to stay warm while still eating healthy. Don’t feel like cooking? Take advantage of your crockpot and make comfort foods like chicken noodle soup or a roast with vegetables.

Fall and winter don’t need to be a harvest of unhealthy food choices. Planning ahead and being prepared can help you stay on track with your health goals.

Chilly winter weather affects more than just your wardrobe and heating bill. Your body also experiences changes in energy levels, metabolism and even food prefer

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Do you react to bitter cold by skipping the gym and convincing yourself you deserve a calorie splurge to warm up and offset your discomfort? You’re not alone. But the cold truth is that no weather warrants unhealthy eating habits. Just as you shouldn’t overdo ice cream during the dog days of summer, you shouldn’t live on a steady diet of hot chocolate and warm cookies during winter.

Winterizing your diet can be healthy — and tasty — if you add a few favorite cold-weather foods. Start with these.


  • Root vegetables

    Local produce can be hard to find when cold weather inhibits crop growth. But root vegetables like beets, carrots and turnips can withstand the cold, so local farmers can provide fresh produce — and you can reap the benefits. Roast carrots for a boost of beta-carotene, or boil turnips for vitamins C and A.


  • Oatmeal

    Oatmeal is much more than just a convenient breakfast food; it also provides nutrients that are essential during winter. Oatmeal is high in zinc (important for proper immune function) and soluble fiber (associated with heart health). Although instant oatmeal is more convenient, it is a bit more expensive. To eat healthy on a budget, go with old-fashioned oats.


  • Soup

    Soup is winter’s perfect food — as long as you hold the cream, salt and beef. Look for soup recipes that call for chicken broth, vegetable broth or water as the base and include a lot of vegetables. Pair your soup with a side of 100% whole-grain crackers for a dose of grains.


  • Spicy tuna roll

    For a surprising alternative to typical comfort foods — often loaded with fat and sugar — try sushi. Choose rolls lined with tuna or salmon. Both are good sources of vitamin D. During the winter months, when you have limited exposure to the sun, food sources of the bone-healthy vitamin become even more essential. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with impaired growth, weakening of the bones and even the risk of heart disease.


  • Broccoli and cauliflower

    Aside from getting the flu shot and washing your hands regularly, these cruciferous vegetables may be your top defense against winter sickness. Broccoli and cauliflower are both high in vitamin C, which is associated with enhanced immune function. If you can’t find fresh versions, don’t fret — frozen broccoli and cauliflower are just as nutritious.

Contributor: Brigid Titgemeier, BA, nutrition assistant at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute

Winter might be full of the great joys of Christmas, but it also brings with it freezing cold weather, an increased likelihood of getting ill and, for some, the onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

But food is pretty powerful, and by tweaking our diets we can actually help to counter many of the negative impacts winter has on our body. Here are some of the things you should be loading up on this time of year:

1. Red peppers

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Vitamin C is known to reduce tiredness while strengthening your immune system, which is vital during the colder months. “Citrus fruits are commonly hailed as the food that most effectively boost vitamin C and fight colds. However, scrumptious Bell peppers actually contain over three times the vitamin C of an orange and are far more effective,” explains nutritional expert and founder of Nosh Detox, Geeta Sidhu-Robb. “Red peppers also contain phytochemicals and carotenoids (which gives it the pigment), particularly beta-carotene, which bestow you with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.”

2. Smoked Salmon

One of the main downsides of the cold weather is the damage it does to our skin, but eating smoked salmon can help with that. “As well as being necessary for our heart, brain and eye health, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids found in smoked salmon play an essential role in the structure and appearance of the skin,” explains nutritionist and author of The Natural Health Bible for Women, Dr. Marilyn Glenville. The fatty acids, she says, “are incorporated into cell membranes in the epidermis (the top layer of skin) and form a matrix around the cells, helping to maintain the skin’s barrier function and prevent moisture loss that may occur during the winter months.”

3. Mushrooms

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Mushrooms are a great addition to any winter diet, according to Sidhu-Robb, because of the antiviral and antibacterial properties they possess, which fight infection. “Button mushrooms in particular are a great source of vitamin D, which helps to boost your immunity,” the nutritional expert notes. “Mushrooms are provide a range of essential nutrients like selenium which an antioxidant, as well as niacin, potassium copper and phosphorous. Additionally, mushrooms provide protein, vitamin C and iron.”

Adding a note about how best to cook mushrooms to ensure you make the most of their nutritional benefits, Sidhu-Robb advises boiling or cooking your mushrooms thoroughly – “their cell walls are indigestible unless exposed to heat,” she says.

4. Cheese

Now this is one we can get on board with. As well as vitamin C, vitamin D is a vital part of any winter diet because of its benefits when it comes to our mental wellbeing. “There is a reason (other than the gleaming tans) that the warm summer sun puts a smile on our face, and that is the abundance of vitamin D it provides us with,” explains Sidhu-Robb. “Vitamin D is the most effective way to beat the blues. It plays a crucial role in disease prevention and maintaining optimal health, and a deficiency keeps a part of the brain, the hypothalamus, from working which in turn can leave us feeling sleepy, lethargic and demotivated.” And the good news? Cheese is known to be a food that boosts levels of vitamin D, along with the likes of egg yolk, orange juice, soy milk, cereals, tuna, mackerel and salmon.”

5. Oily fish

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One of the most vulnerable parts of the body in winter is our lungs, which are susceptible to colds and respiratory infections. But Omega-3, which “helps increase airflow and protect the lungs,” explains Dr Glenville, can help you with that. “Try to eat Omega 3 rich foods like oily fish (sardines, anchovies, herring, salmon, mackerel) three times a week,” the nutritionist adds.

6. Blueberries

“Wild blueberries contain the most active antioxidants of any fresh fruit, all thanks to their high levels of anthocyanins,” says Geeta Sidhu-Robb. “Antioxidants help in reversing the damage left by toxins and free radicals by helping your body to defend itself against dangerous pathogens” – perfect for clearing out your system in winter, then.

7. Cinnamon

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If you – like everyone else this Christmas – plan to eat all the food, make sure you’ve got cinnamon in great supply. “Cinnamon is one of nature’s most revitalising herbs. Filled with potent antioxidants – more than almost all other spices and herbs – it can help to boost your metabolism as well as aid digestion, gently warming your stomach, and supporting the breakdown of your food more efficiently,” says Dr Marilyn Glenville. Basically, if you want the 46284 Quality Street you ate to successfully digest, cinnamon’s your guy. Does it count if you eat it in a bun? Asking for a friend.

8. Bananas

“During the long, dark, cold winter months, we may find that our moods drop a little. If you find this happening it is important to make sure you are supporting your serotonin (the ‘feel good’ hormone) levels,” advises Dr Glenville. “The body makes serotonin from tryptophan, which occurs naturally in foods such as bananas, as well as dairy products, fish, dried dates, soya, almonds and peanuts,” she adds. If you mix the above foods with unrefined carbohydrates, such as brown rice, wholemeal bread or oats, that’ll be even more beneficial as it encourages the body to release insulin, which helps transport tryptophan to the brain, where serotonin is in turn manufactured.

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Related Story Catriona Harvey-Jenner Digital Features Editor Cat is Cosmopolitan UK’s features editor covering women’s issues, health and current affairs.

15 common foods that keep you warm in winters

You cannot fight the icy fang of chill with just blazers and blankets. Food plays a very important role in keeping us healthy during the winter months. Food is the cause and cure of most diseases. So here’s a list of what all you should eat during winters.

Jaggery: It is considered a warm food and it can be consumed in a variety of ways. It is healthier than sugar as it contains a number of vitamins and minerals like phosphorous, iron, magnesium and potassium and is a natural cure for cough, cold, migraine, asthma, fatigue and indigestion. Consuming jaggery in winters helps in generating enough heat in the body, thus keeping you warm inside. Taken along with fresh ginger it cures cough.

Sesame or Til: Pancakes, sticky candies, sweet balls and chikkis and gajaks, sesame forms a part of all winter cuisines and rituals in India. This ensures that even the poor have the required intake of sesame seeds to keep them warm. Infusions of sesame help cure chronic respiratory disorders like pneumonia, bronchitis and asthma. Sesame paste when applied on hair, helps cure dandruff.

For full story and photos, Jaggery

Weight Loss: 5 High-Protein Winter Recipes To Cut Belly Fat

Protein-rich foods are an intrinsic component of an ideal weight loss diet. According to experts around the world, protein is one of the essential nutrients to lose weight. Protein helps induce satiety and also helps regulate the hunger hormone ghrelin, making you crave less. When you are full for longer, you crave less. When you crave less, you are less likely to binge on other fattening foods around. When it comes to fat loss, protein is the king of nutrients; the higher the protein intake, the better it is. High-protein foods help improve our metabolism, reduce appetite, and tend to change several weight-regulating hormones. In winters, we tend to crave more as our body signals our brain that it needs more food to stay warm. This is one of the reasons why it is tough to lose weight in winters. In this list, we have compiled our favourite warm and protein-rich winter recipes that you can try at home and manage weight loss naturally.

High-Protein Winter Recipes To Try At Home:

1. Chicken Soup

Spending our nippy evenings with a warm cup of chicken soup is one of our favourite things to do in winters. Chicken is a lean source of protein, making it a much better bet for weight loss as it is less fattening than red meat. You can flavour your soup with winter veggies like spinach and carrot. Make sure you have clear soup and not the creamy versions.

(Also Read: Weight Loss: This High Protein Soup Is Your Ultimate Winter Weapon To Cut Belly Fat)

Weight Loss: You can flavour your soup with winter veggies like spinach and carrot

2. Quinoa Couscous And Beetroot Tikki

Quinoa, the pseudo grain is gaining immense popularity in India for its high protein and nutritive profile. The best part about quinoa is that it is a complete source of protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids. This delicious melt-in-mouth tikki also includes beetroot, spinach and oats.

3. Orange Tofu Dumplings

For vegans, it may get a little tough to hunt for enough protein sources. In addition to meat, they refrain from consuming dairy too. Tofu is an excellent vegan source of protein. This guilt-free preparation combines goodness of mashed tofu, wheat rava, orange zest, spinach, mushroom and delicious prunes. There, we saw you slurping!

4. Apple Chia Seeds Smoothie

Start your day with this protein-packed smoothie bursting with goodness of fresh apples, chia seeds and yogurt. This sumptuous and filling smoothie makes for an ideal post-workout snack.

5. Ayurvedic Khichdi

India’s most popular comfort food with Ayurvedic magic of turmeric and black pepper. Packed with protein-rich goodness of moong dal, this sumptuous one-pot meal will be real treat to your soul. Moong dal is one of the best plant-based sources of protein. Did you know that 100 grams of moong dal contains 24 grams of protein?! So, add it to your weight loss diet without any guilt.

(Also Read: Moong Dal ki Khichdi Recipe)

Ayurvedic Khichdi For Weight Loss: Packed with protein-rich goodness of moong dal, this one-pot meal will be real treat to your soul.

Try these yummy yet healthy recipes at home and let us know which ones you liked the best in the comment section below.

The weight of winter

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