Holistic approach to autumn: food choices and good sleep for full energy

Holistic approach to autumn: food choices and good sleep for full energy

Holistic approach to autumn: food choices and good sleep for full energy

Experts say that the best way to deal with autumn and the cold season is with a holistic approach, i.e. the right combination of:
  • the right food choices,
  • a good sleep
  • regular physical activity .
Fitbit and Almond Board of California illustrate how it’s easier to stay active throughout the dayin a season in which it is easy to get caught up in feelings of tiredness , homelessness and a bad mood, also due to the reduction in the hours of sunshine.
But this can also be the season of a new beginning, a time to commit to good resolutions and take time for yourself and your well-being .
Here are the advice of the Almond Board of California and Fitbit, with the support of two nutrition experts, Roberta Tundo and Ambra Morelli, dietitians of Asand – Scientific Association of Food , Nutrition and Dietetics – and Prof. Carolina Lombardi , Head of the Sleep Center of Auxologico Lombardy, University of Milan-Bicocca.

We interviewed Ambra Morelli , Asand dietician, to better understand what to do to face the cold season with more energy.

Make the right food choices

The cold season is often accompanied by feelings of tiredness, low energy, bad mood, which risk making us forget our well-being needs. Can food help us?

Research suggests that we’re more likely to crave foods high in fat, salt , and sugar when we’re tired, but poor eating habits and poor sleep quality both risk fueling each other, creating a vicious cycle at the expense of health and energy.

Two studies in particular show that poor sleep is often associated with overeating and poor quality diet. Very recent research has shown that people who sleep less than the recommended seven hours a night tend to choose worse snacks than those consumed by people who get enough sleep. And scientific research shows that lack of sleep is, in part, linked to high blood pressure , type 2 diabetes and weight gain .

It’s not just a matter of what we eat , but also when we eat . It is important to plan snacks , just like meals, so that they can offer us the benefits of good nutrition . One study found that a mid-morning snack of almonds , versus no snack at all, helped control appetite and resulted in participants reducing their calorie intake at lunch and dinner.


Plan snacks

The right food choices therefore represent, together with physical activity and sleeping well and enough , the basis for tackling the season with energy. Can you give us some practical advice?

To start the day in a healthy way , let’s take the time for a nutritious breakfast such as a plain yogurt with fresh fruit and chopped almonds on top. Almonds are perfect fuel to get you started right.

Mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks are also of great importance. When our energy wanes (around 10:30 and 17:00), we’re likely to be tempted to foods high in saturated fat , salt, and added sugar . But that doesn’t really help us stay on track and focused in the long run.

So it’s important to plan snacks so you don’t get caught off guard by hunger . Choose nutritious and healthy snacks , such as a handful of 30 g of almonds (about 23 almonds): it is a natural, tasty and easy solution to always have with you, and with 175 calories and 6 grams of vegetable protein it is ideal to maintain energy during a busy and busy day.

What to eat for lunch and dinner

 And for the main meals? How to orient yourself?

At lunch , when time is often limited, a simple preparation is better:

a second course of fish or meat , avoiding overly complicated sauces, completed with vegetables and bread , or a portion of basmati rice or spelt . Those who prefer a single dish can choose pasta with legumes . If, on the other hand, we are in “hit and run” sandwich mode , better with a single protein source, bresaola , or sliced ​​roast chicken or turkey , for example.

At dinner we try to take some time, we eat slowly. If we have made the right food choices throughout the day, consuming balanced meals and snacks – rich in healthy fats, fiber and fat – it will be easier, as we will only be moderately hungry and tired, which in turn helps not to overindulge at dinner.

What to put on the table ?

  • A pumpkin soup with rosemary croutons , with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar , and an omelette with fennel au gratin can be a good combination.
  • Alternatively, a bread and tomato soup , a fish fillet with orange sauce – which we can enrich with a little chopped almonds – and a side dish of seasonal vegetables .

Let’s avoid dishes that are too complicated, we often vary the choices and we won’t go wrong.

Consume almonds instead of typical snacks

Any advice for the holidays?

What has been said so far is absolutely valid for preparing a little in advance for the Christmas period, which in addition to being a period in which we often end up eating too much and also a tiring and stressful period, among the many commitments, preparations, purchases of gifts…

If we are often out and about, carrying a handful of 30g almonds with us can prove to be a useful and comfortable solution to cheer yourself up in times of tiredness.

Furthermore, a recent study has shown how the simple dietary strategy of consuming almonds instead of typical snacks can improve the responses of the heart and nervous system to mental stress , improving heart rate regulation .


To keep fit throughout the day, California Almonds Facebook page followers will receive notifications on their mobile phones from the first week of November at 08:00, 10:30 and 17:00, to remind them that “It’s Almond Time” – time to recharge with almonds, the smart snack to stay energized during the day and between meals. A handful of 30g (about 23 almonds) is a natural solution, tasty and easy to have with you at all times, and with 175 calories and 6 grams of vegetable proteins it is an ideal snack to maintain energy during a busy and busy day.


Fill up on energy in the morning

“T o start the day right, it’s important to make time for a nutritious breakfast , such as plain yogurt topped with fresh fruit and ground almonds. Almonds contain vegetable proteins, healthy fats, and fiber, which help give you long-lasting energy “, remembers  Roberta Tundo .
“They are also a rich source of magnesium , which contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. They are therefore an excellent fuel. A tasty and nutritious alternative to yogurt could be a porridge made with quinoa , prunes , ground almonds and fresh fruit Seasonal”.

Take time to be in nature

Are these indications also valid for those who do physical activity?

These are qualitative indications, which can therefore be valid for most people. They must of course be adapted to your own metabolism and your specific situation.

Physical activity is very important. Not everyone should or can be a great athlete, but we should all get moving!

My advice is to spend time in contact with nature , even practicing light physical activity : scientific studies show that spending at least 20 minutes a day in contact with nature leads to an improvement in psycho-physical well-being.

Recently, in fact, the scientific interest in forest therapies has increased and several forest stations have been created in Italy and certified parks rich in biodiversity, particularly suitable for activities in contact with nature such as the ‘Forest bath’ or Shinrin-yoku ( sensory immersion in the forest led by an expert)”.

The benefits of forest therapy have recently been recognized by the UN (FAO and UNEP) also in the context of the green recovery of the pandemic , arguing among other things that «being in the forest or in wooded parks offers a myriad of benefits for human health physical, mental and spiritual

Maintain circadian rhythm

Prof. Carolina Lombardi declared :
“A correct lifestyle is the basis of an excellent quality of sleep . The relationships between sleep and nutrition are manifold and are based on meal times, quantity but also on some organoleptic and chemical characteristics of the foods themselves (such as foods containing tryptophan or magnesium which support good sleep).
Even physical activity and our daily habits play a very important role: having sufficiently regular times for going to bed and waking up in the morning, not falling asleep in places other than the bed, not taking naps during the day, especially if prolonged, sleeping in a environment with adequate temperature and lighting, avoiding alcohol , nicotine and stimulating substances such as caffeine in the evening, are all fundamental elements for maintaining the health of our sleep.
It is advisable to avoid using electronic devices (PCs, tablets and cell phones) before going to bed both because it stimulates us from an emotional point of view and because it exposes our eyes to artificial light which alters the production of melatonin , the main mechanism regulation of our wake/sleep alternation”.

Avoid strenuous physical activity in the evening

“According to some studies, even if not all agree on this, it is advisable to avoid intense physical activity in the evening hours , while it produces a beneficial effect on sleep if done in the afternoon, possibly in the open air, in order to expose ourselves in a physiological way in sunlight .
For example, most of these components of our lifestyle can be monitored through trackers and healthwatches, which analyze our daily activities and habits by objectifying us and can also provide us with an estimate of the quality of sleep, night by night”. added  Prof. Lombardi.
For more information:  Almonds.it


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