You can have all the best intentions, but what with a global pandemic going on and the fact that - thanks to the clocks going back this weekend - it's about to get dark outside 20 minutes after your lunch break, sometimes only beige food will do. First, let’s debunk the myth that this is your body’s way of fattening you up for winter – you’re not a hibernating woodland creature. So, what is going on? Blame your hormones, says registered dietitian Jo Hollington.
"They’re strongly influenced by sunlight, so when it begins to get dark earlier, your levels of serotonin (the happy one) start to fall," she explains. "Eating foods high in carbs gives them a boost." They trigger the release of insulin into the bloodstream, which helps covert the amino acid tryptophan into serotonin.
"This explains why you unconsciously – and consciously– reach for carbs to boost your mood," she points out.
To keep hitting your five a day, Hollington recommends bulking out dishes with nutrient-rich and fibrous veg:
Add carrots to stews
Broccoli to pasta
Courgette to pizza
Opt for tomato-based sauces over creamy ones when you can.
Also, when it comes to carbs, opt for wholegrain pasta and brown rice – they take longer for your body to digest and release glucose into the bloodstream more steadily, allowing you to swerve spikes in blood sugar and benefit from slow-release energy.
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