Making nutrition and fitness a priority is tough, even when circumstances are at their best. When snow, ice, or any number of other crazy weather conditions make your resources limited and your ability to get what you need or where you need nearly impossible, it can be next to impossible! Don’t let a change in routine derail your success or healthy habits.
So, let’s talk how to make good food and exercise choices, even if you’re snowbound, housebound, have kids running wild instead of at school, or your gym decided they just don’t feel like being open. First, food.
The means to prepare a healthy, delicious meal with limited resources is not just an advantage for weather emergencies, but for overall good health. Yes, weather restrictions may be more obvious and even more foreseen, but needing to make healthy meals quickly and on limited resources is a skill that you always want to have in your arsenal. So, be prepared!
1) Keep your freezer stocked. Making extras when you make a few dinners, portioning the leftovers into freezer-safe containers so you always have a reliable stash. Quinoa, brown rice, pulled pork, soups, meatballs, and sloppy joes all freeze really well and are great options when you need a quick dinner or don’t have fresh ingredients on hand to whip something up. Here are some recipes to get you started…
Pesto! Easy to throw on mixed veggies, pasta, or even rice for a great flavor and nutrition punch.
2) Freezer Staples. Just like extra fully-prepped meals can go a long way, making sure your freezer is a strong “pantry” resource can save you a lot of stressful meal-making moments. Keep a wide variety of fruits and veggies, as well as pre-prepped grains, ready to go. In the event inclement weather catches you on what should have been a shopping day, you’ll still have great, nutritious produce at the ready. Broccoli, peas, and green beans are all wonderful options that you can sauté, roast, or steam in no time as part of a main dish, or a good side. Frozen spinach can be used in a pinch to replace fresh and boost the nutrition of your smoothie. Berries, mango, and ripe, peeled banana chunks can be perfect for a delicious, warm bowl of oatmeal, a fresh, colorful smoothie, or just eaten plain or atop yogurt.
Zucchini Fritters (shred some extra and freeze for later!)
Broccoli for the main dish above
Simple smoothies like this one
3) Pantry staples, keep ‘em coming. Certain items should always grace your pantry cupboards. These items are inexpensive, have a long shelf-life, and easily lend themselves to healthy, yummy meals.
Canned Tomatoes or Tomato Sauce
Quinoa, Brown Rice
Canned beans, like chickpeas for hummus like this…
Whole wheat pasta
4) Fridge Essentials. Some basic items should be a consistent presence in your fridge. Eggs are a fantastic source of protein and healthy fat. Milk for cereal (or homemade hot cocoa!), to make oatmeal, and or to add to smoothies.
What about Fitness? Well, to be honest, I do all my workout in the comfort of my own home, without paying a dime. Most are based on body weight exercises, sometimes with some free-weights added. I’ve managed to stay in the best shape of my life without any monthly gym fees and no major equipment needs or even having to leave the house! While that approach isn’t for everyone, it does make it quite clear that workouts can be done anytime, anywhere, regardless of your means to leave the house.
1) Youtube.com; it’s wealth of workout options. Yoga, High Intensity Interval Training, Pilates, and Low Impact options. Two of my favorite channels are Melissa Ioja and Athlean XX for women (they have on for men, too!). Workouts range from 5 to 40+ minutes, often just requiring you and a place to stretch out.
2) Get busy around the house. Three feet of snow? Go ahead and…
Shovel! A LOT! Help out the neighbors, dig out some friends. Fresh air, good deeds, and calorie burn all in one.
Want a nice, warm fire to cozy up to? Chop some wood! Exercise and ambiance.
Deep Clean! Looking for the time and reason to do some house cleaning? No time like the present! Scrub some showers, mop those floors, vacuum the house from top to bottom.
Take a walk in the deep snow. Use the weather to create resistance and cardio awesomeness!
Snowball fight!! Channel your inner child (or just get your own kids involved!). Go out for a snowball fight and do some family bonding while burning off some calories.
3) When all else fails, get back to basics. Internet out? Youtube too overwhelming? Kids stealing the computer? Snow coming down fast and furious with no end in sight? Just get moving! Try 15 reps of each exercise below, or do 50 seconds of each, then 10 seconds rest before moving on to the next. Repeat the exercise circuit as many times as you want to feel the burn!
Dips (off the couch or chair)
Need a bigger challenge? Make the squats and lunges plyometric, doing jumping squats and lunges instead and ad them in between each set of the arms and ab exercises to get your heart rate up and your sweat on!
Happy snowstorm, Maryland!
Aubrey Phelps, MS, RDN