As the weather cools down, along comes the temptation to curl up in front of the TV rather than get outside and to switch from fresh fruit and salads to heavier meals.  But you can stay healthy and avoid winter weight gain with these easy tips.

Make a pot of soup. Soups are both easy to make and nutritious and with the right ingredients they can be a healthy and satisfying lunch or dinner option to replace high fat takeaway meals. Pack them with vegetables along with legumes and wholegrains.  Examples include minestrone, pumpkin and chickpea or tomato and red lentil.

Put the slow cooker to work. Casseroles, stews and curries are great winter-warmers and you can easily make extra to freeze for another night or to take for lunch the next day.  Choose lean cuts of meat or poultry and add in plenty of vegetables and legumes for fibre.  Use canned tomatoes and fresh or dried herbs and spices for flavor, rather than pre-made sauces.

Don’t forget fruit.  Snacking on a piece of fruit or that fresh fruit salad for dessert may be less appealing on a cold day but don’t leave fruit to the summer months.  Instead, take advantage of seasonal winter fruits and try baked apples or pear and apple crumbles for dessert, and add stewed apple and cinnamon to porridge for a warming winter breakfast.

Keep active!  If your early morning run or evening walk is no longer appealing, consider moving your exercise to another time of the day.  Could you get out for a walk at lunch?  Or get off the train or bus a stop earlier and walk part of the way home?  If you usually exercise outside but don’t like the cold, then move your exercise indoors. This could mean joining the gym or using home exercise equipment such as an exercise bike or treadmill.  Exercise DVDs or online exercise programs are another great indoor option.  And don’t forget that exercise is the fastest way to get warm!

Watch your fluids.  Hot drinks are comforting on a cold winter’s day but too many hot chocolates and milky coffees and you could find your weight piling on. Instead, try some warming herbal teas such as ginger or peppermint.  If you do like milk-based drinks, consider going for low fat or skim milk and avoid the added sugar.