Monthly Archives: January 2016

Tips for Healthy Eating in Cold Weather

What are the best foods to eat in the winter?

Best foods to eat in the winter

As January turns to February, New Year’s resolutions fade into distant memories. The weather is cold and grey, and snow and ice make outdoor exercise unsafe or just unpalatable. Above all, our bodies crave comfort: fleece pajamas, wool sweaters, and comforting food. Carmen Honnef, USConnect’s own Registered Dietician and manager of our The Right Choice … for a Healthier You program, says: “Cold weather may tend to lead us towards comfort foods like pasta, pizza and casseroles. Enjoy these dishes by using whole grains, adding vegetables to casseroles, and limiting the saturated fat sources (like cheese and sausage) to half the amount or a lighter option.”

Cold weather drives us to food that’s hot, quick, and filling, like canned soup or fast food. We also tend to crave carbohydrates, an issue that isn’t purely psychological; the reduced sunlight in winter can lead to lower serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a naturally-occurring chemical that regulates moods and suppresses appetite. When our bodies need serotonin, what we feel is cravings for sweet or starchy carbohydrates.

Despite the fact that our bodies seem to want to fight our ability to eat healthily during the winter, there are some ways to get your body what it needs without sacrificing your diet. Read on for our dietician-certified tips for healthy eating in cold weather.

  • Replace simple carbohydrates with complex ones. Instead of saltines or cookies, go for whole grains like quinoa, farro, or barley. These foods can boost serotonin without causing sleepiness or carb-overload.
  • Get some sun. If the weather permits, get outside for at least 15 minutes a day. A brisk walk is good for both your body and your brain! Moving your desk to a sunny spot can also help.
  • Eat for immunity. Winter vegetables like squash and Brussels sprouts are packed with vitamins and anti-oxidants. They’re also more filling that some summer vegetables like asparagus or green beans.
  • Go for frozen. If you’re craving out-of-season fruits or vegetables, go for frozen instead of canned. The canning process can sacrifice many of the nutrients of fresh produce, while flash-frozen produce maintains its properties. Many canned vegetables and fruits also contain unneeded sugar or salt.
  • Add some warmth to your salad. Many people avoid salads in the winter because they want something warm to counteract the cold weather. But salads and warmth do not need to be enemies; try topping your salad with something warm to counteract the chill of cold greens. As we discuss in our post on food pairings, an egg on a salad of dark greens provides extra nutritional benefits, or try grilled chicken, lean steak, or shrimp.

What’s ‘Appening with the USConnectMe App?

2016 brings great news for smartphone users (and really, in 2016, who isn’t a smartphone user?): the USConnectMe app is here! The new app is applicable to employees with access to USConnect-enabled smart vending machines, Bistro to Go! Self-checkout kiosks, and approved food service terminals.USConnectMe app is live

Available for free from the Apple Store and Google Play Store, the app provides a host of benefits, allowing USConnectMe users to

  • Redeem exclusive promotions.
  • Earn and redeem reward points.
  • Conveniently make purchases.
  • Review The Right Choice for a Healthier You® options.
  • Access The Right Choice for a Healthier You® videos.
  • Directly support a charity of their choice (1.5% of each purchase goes to charity).
  • Check their USConnectMe account balance.
  • Add funds to their USConnectMe account.
  • View detailed transaction history.
  • Review and edit account profiles.

USConnectMe is USConnect’s innovative loyalty and rewards program, offered in conjunction with its nationwide cashless payment system. Previously accessible only through a card, the new USConnectMe app offers unprecedented convenience and customization. And until January 31, 2016, new users will be entered in a drawing to win an Apple Watch. Existing users who spend $100 in January 2016 will also be entered to win.