Many areas of the world are heading toward winter now, with the weather taking a turn for the worst and days getting shorter. Not only does this mean you need to wrap up warm and try and get as much sunlight as you can, it can also result in weight gain.

Many of us put weight on during the winter months – and not just due to all the treats at Christmas – with the lower temperatures meaning we start to crave carbs and fatty food. We also can’t exercise outside as much so may not stay as fit. This isn’t great for your health, especially as the pounds can be difficult to shift.

However, you can take steps to avoid winter weight gain, meaning you are healthier and happier with your body. Here are our top tips on staving off the extra pounds this winter season:

Join a gym

Cold and wet weather means people are less likely to engage in light outdoor exercise like they would during spring or summer. This means that you are doing less exercise overall as you’re unlikely to replace it with anything else.

Rather than allowing yourself to get a bit lazy when the weather is bad, join a gym so you can workout indoors. Even low impact exercises like walking on a treadmill and swimming can make a difference and help keep you in better shape. On top of this, you’ll be nice and warm so you can’t use rain or snow as an excuse.

Pay attention to your hot drinks

When temperatures are low, we tend to reach for hot drinks more regularly. While unsweetened tea and coffee are relatively low in calories, things like cocoa and syrupy lattes will soon have you piling on the pounds.

Avoid hot drinks with lots of sugar, high-fat milk, whipped cream and other extras, no matter how good they look. Many of the varieties available in coffee shops at this time of year contain hundreds of calories each, which will soon add up.

Try drinking fruit teas or hot water with lemon to help you stay warm and hydrated without the extra calories.

Buy kitchen staples

It can be really easy to just order a takeaway or pick up a frozen pizza on your way home when the winter weather is cold and miserable. While a treat every now and then is okay – so long as you live a healthy lifestyle – doing this too often is bad for you and will have you gaining weight in no time.

Make sure you stock up on kitchen staples like pulses and tinned tomatoes so you can create healthy and nutritious meals easily. If you struggle to get hold of fresh fruit and veg, fill your freezer with frozen varieties so you can always get your five a day with minimal effort.

You can even cook healthy meals in bulk and freeze the leftovers so you have nutritious ready meals that you can simply pop in the microwave.