Popular Foods Behind Your Winter Weight Gain, Say Dietitians

With temperatures rapidly getting cooler, it's natural to lament the shorter days, the need to bundle up, and the sudden dearth of opportunities for outdoor recreation. However, that's not the only thing you might be worried about as winter creeps closer: for many people, colder weather and less time spent outside make weight gain feel practically inevitable.

It's not just a lack of outdoor exercise that could be causing the numbers on the scale to move in the wrong direction, though. Read on to discover which winter foods could be causing you to pack on the pounds, according to dietitians. And if you're ready to shed a few pounds, check out these 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.

Cookies

platter of christmas cookies gingerbread

From the treats being passed around your office to the homemade snacks your family sends you during the holiday season, cookies are a major source of weight gain in the winter months.

"Most cookies are made with refined flour and sugar, both of which result in an increase in blood sugar. This subsequently causes an increase in insulin which is a fat-storing hormone," explains Elise Harlow, MS, RD, owner of The Flourished Table.

RELATED: 25 Food Myths Preventing You From Losing Weight

Cream-based soups

clam chowder

There's nothing like enjoying a warm bowl of soup on a cold day—but if those soups are cream-based, it may not be long before you find yourself dealing with major weight gain.

"Soups are a great winter food and usually an amazing way to sneak in extra veggies into your diet. However, they can quickly become detrimental to your waistline if you keep choosing the ones made with heavy cream," cautions Paula Doebrich, MPH, RDN, owner of Happea Nutrition. "Try to opt for lighter, vegetable-based soups to avoid unwanted weight gain," Doebrich recommends.

RELATEDThe #1 Best Soup for a Flat Belly, Says Dietitian

Latkes

latkes with garnish

While latkes may be a staple at your Hanukkah celebration, these deep-fried potato pancakes are a major contributor to winter weight gain if you end up eating them throughout the month.

"Try to reduce the intake of those foods and opt for healthy choices like baked potatoes instead," says Doebrich.

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Pie

pecan pie

Whether you prefer pumpkin, apple, or pecan, pie is a high-calorie food that's typically low in fiber or protein that might otherwise keep you full—meaning you might find yourself going back for seconds or even thirds.

"While one slice here and there is unlikely causing you to gain weight, having too much of these sweet treats will show over time," says Doebrich. If you do opt to indulge, "Try to choose pies with minimal added sugar," Doebrich recommends.

Casseroles

chicken casserole

From baked mac and cheese to green beans with fried onions on top, holiday casseroles are typically loaded with calories and fat, making it easy to gain weight if these are on your holiday menu.

"In general, as we approach the colder months, people tend to crave more comforting foods such as mac and cheese and cheesy casseroles," says Doebrich. "Combined with reduced physical activity during the winter months, it is not surprising that a few pounds are expected to be gained."

If you want to shed some of those extra pounds, check out The Verdict on the Best Weight Loss Foods to Eat Every Day, and for the latest healthy eating news delivered to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter!

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