Like many others, Terri Sakelaris spent earlier this week hunkered down, avoiding the arctic cold temperatures.
The registered dietitian with the Community Hospital Diabetes Center spent Tuesday with her daughter, digging through the pantry to find the ingredients for lunch and dinner that provided comfort without draining their energy.
When temperatures dip so low that leaving the house is out of the question, it’s tempting to spend the day lying in bed under a warm blanket, eating chocolate.
However, the best ways to combat the coldest and most uncomfortable temperatures, and boost energy levels, is to eat healthy and stay active — even indoors.
Sakelaris recommends keeping some important staples in the home for days when venturing out isn’t appealing.
“Keep in the freezer shrimp, ground turkey or a lean meat that is a favorite,” she said. “I like to keep a pork tenderloin in the freezer.”
Other items to keep in the pantry include canned pinto beans, chili beans or any type of bean or lentils, Sakelaris said.
“Dry is best, but canned will do,” she said. “Just rinse two to three times to remove 40 percent of the sodium.”
Other must-haves are whole grain pasta, quinoa, wild rice or brown rice, canned tomatoes or a favorite vegetable, olive oil and soups.
“I recently purchased some gourmet soups in the organic section, such as pumpkin soup, creamy tomato and lobster bisque,” Sakelaris said.
She and her daughter sprinkled parmesan cheese on the top and paired the soup with a few herb crackers and slices of melted swiss cheese.
“Hot herbal teas such as blueberry, cinnamon or lavender are great to sip on while you read a book and stay inside,” Sakelaris said. “If you need that jolt in the morning, enjoy English Breakfast tea or hot coffee.”
Hydration is important because the body can get very dehydrated during cold winter months, causing dry, cracked skin and other health ailments, she added.
“And I always keep small packages of chili mix, fajita mix and crock pot mixes,” Sakelaris said. “I always try to look for the low sodium mixes. These will have all the spices to make a comfort food.”
Kelly Devine Rickert, a Franciscan WELLCARE registered dietitian and health coach and spokesperson for the Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, recommends starting your day with some protein and fiber.
For example, Devine Rickert likes a slice of whole grain toast, one egg, avocado and fruit on the side. Another option is veggies sauteed with an egg, topped with salsa in a low-carb, high-fiber wrap.
Though choosing the right food options is important, so is moving, she said.
“Nothing boosts metabolism better than exercise,” Rickert said. “If you don’t want to brave the weather, you can workout inside.”
Download fitness apps, such as the 7-minute workout, Bootcamp 101 or other free videos, she said. A circuit workout using minimal equipment at home is another great option.
“Rotate between jumping jacks or walking in place with lunges, push-ups, planks, crunches, chair dips or wall sits,” she said.