By Jessica Sepel

The winter winds have started to blow down under. Here in Sydney, we’re feeling the chill and with it comes the challenge of staying healthy during winter. Who wants to get out of a cosy bed to exercise? Oh, that can hurt. A warm pizza or creamy hot chocolate by the fire is incredibly hard to resist. And red wine? That will certainly keep me warm!

It’s natural to turn to indulgent foods during the colder months. Our bodies may crave the comfort of rich meals, and that can make it easy to overeat. Here are some of my tried-and-tested tricks to stay healthy and nourished this winter.

1. Drink water throughout the day
This can be difficult in winter because it’s cold, so try to drink warm water and herbal tea instead. Staying hydrated is so important when it comes to health and weight maintenance.

2. Keep moving
Just 30 minutes a day will do. Exercise boosts your endorphins and keeps your blood flowing. Choose your favourite form of movement and enjoy it.

3. Make healthy versions of naughty foods
I love whipping up homemade sweets such as my raw Nutella cakepeanut butter bliss balls and choc-chip cookie dough blondies.

4. Eat protein with each meal
This keeps you satiated, keeps your blood sugar levels stable and therefore decreases your sugar cravings. Consider eating five small meals a day.

5. Make healthy soups
They’re warming, fibre filled and help you meet your veggie quota for the day. Try my green zucchini soup.

6. Up your greens intake
Half your plate should be filled with vegetables. Green vegetables such as broccoli, kale and spinach are full of fibre and antioxidants, which boost your immunity. Try roasting your veggies with some warming spices.

7. Avoid eating starch after 3pm
This will really help to keep the weight off and will remove not-so-healthy food choices in the evening.

8. Have a treat each week
I talk a lot about moderate indulgence and how it plays a key role in living a healthy life. The odd spot of indulgence satisfies those cravings. Trust that your body is capable of processing the foods you’re consuming and remember to eat mindfully.

9. Keep stress in check
High stress causes high cortisol, which is a fat storage hormone and makes it very hard to keep weight off. Start by putting your legs up against the wall for 10 minutes a day or deep belly breathing. Remember to give yourself time to rest each day to connect with yourself, rather than turning to comfort foods.