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Control Your Winter Appetite

It's not just your imagination -- winter really can whet your appetite. Here's how to keep it under control.

6 Ways to Beat the Seasonal System

Despite all these appetite-boosting factors, experts say you can take control. With a little bit of planning, you can keep your life and your appetite in perfect harmony all year long.

Here are 6 suggestions.

1. Have a Healthy Snack.

Eat a high-protein, high-fiber snack between meals -- like some peanut butter on a whole wheat cracker, or low-fat cheese on a slice of wheat bread. Healthy snacking will fuel your body's heat mechanism, helping keep you warmer. The warmer we remain in cold weather, says Herlocker, the less we crave carbs.

2. Make a Winter Activity Plan.

Even if it's already mid-winter, Wolfe-Radbill says take a pen to paper and list all the things you did in spring and summer, then write a corresponding list of winter activities you could do. Not only does exercise burn calories, it also affects brain chemicals linked to appetite, so it can help control how much you eat, McAllister says.

3. Create Low-Calorie Comforts.

If you know you're going to crave those wintry comfort foods, find lower-cal ways to do it. Mac and cheese made with low-fat cheese, steamy pizza with veggies and a whole wheat crust, a bowl of vegetable soup, cocoa with non-fat milk -- be creative in cutting calories while keeping the comfort.

4. Get a Daily Dose of Light.

If you think your food cravings may be related to shorter days, try to spend at least some time outdoors in sunlight every day. If that's not possible, talk to your doctor about light therapy -- a way of increasing serotonin levels through exposure to artificial light.

5. Keep a Lid on Seasonal Goodies.

That's not just a figure of speech. Keep rich treats left over from the holidays out of direct eye view, McAllister says. If someone has brought you goodies as a gift, say thanks, without sampling.

6. Give Out a Lot of Hugs.

If it's comfort you're seeking, hugging is a great way to fill you up without filling you out, the experts say. Instead of turning to comfort food, hug your kids, your spouse, your dog, or cat -- or visit an orphanage or senior center, where hugging is at a premium!

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Reviewed on January 05, 2007

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