It may be cold outside, but winter needn’t be the unhealthiest time of year for you and your family.
“On average we sleep six-and-a-half hours a night, much less than theÂ seven to nineÂ hours recommended,” says Jessica Alexander, spokesperson at The Sleep Council,Â which aims to raise awareness of the importance of a good night’s sleepÂ for health and wellbeing.
But in winter, we naturally sleep more because ofÂ the longer nights. “It’s perfectly natural to adopt hibernating habits when the weather turns cold,” says Jessica. “Use the time to catch up.”
Read more aboutÂ how to get a good night’s sleep.
You are 80% more likely to get aÂ coldÂ in winter, so making sure your immune system is in tip-top condition is important. Milk and dairy products such as cheese, yoghurt and fromage frais are great sources of protein and vitamins A and B12.
They’re also an important source of calcium, which helps keep our bones strong. Try to go for semi-skimmed or skimmed milk, rather than full-fatÂ and low-fat yoghurts.
Read more aboutÂ milk and dairy foods.
Read more aboutÂ healthy eating.
When it’s cold and dark outside, it can be tempting to fill up on unhealthy comfort food, but it’s important to ensure you still have a healthy diet and include five portions of fruit and veg a day.
If you find yourself craving a sugary treat, try a juicy clementine or satsuma instead, or sweet dried fruits such as dates or raisins.
Winter vegetables such asÂ carrots, parsnips, swede and turnips can be roasted, mashed or made into soup for a comforting winter meal for the whole family. Explore varieties of fruit and veg that you may not normally eat.
Read more about how to get yourÂ 5 A DAY.
Find recipes forÂ 10 warming hot meals.
Don’t use the cold winter months as an excuse to stay in and lounge around. Instead, get out with the whole family to try out a new activityÂ â€“Â maybe ice skating, or taking a bracing winter walk on the beach or through the park.
Regular exercise helps control your weight, boost your immune system, and is a good way to break the tension that can build if the family is constantly cooped up inside the house.
Read more aboutÂ different types of exerciseÂ for you and your family.
Winter is the perfect season for porridge. Eating a warm bowlful on a cold morning isn’t just a delicious way to start your day, it also helps boost your intake of starchy foods and fibre.
TheseÂ give you energy and help you feel fuller for longer, stopping the temptation to snack mid-morning. Oats also contain lots of vital vitamins and minerals.
Make your porridge with semi-skimmed or skimmed milk or water, and don’t add sugar or salt. Add a few dried apricots, some raisins, a sliced banana or other fruitÂ for extra flavour and to help you hitÂ yourÂ 5 A DAYÂ target.
Nearest tube: Elephant & Castle underground station (Northern and Bakerloo lines).
Nearest Railway Station: Elephant & Castle
Buses from Elephant and Castle: ask bus driver for Burgess Park. Bus numbers: 12, 171, 148, 176, 68, 484, 42, 40, 45