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23rd Jan 2019

There’s a scientific reason why we feel hungrier in winter

Anyone else?

Katie Mythen-Lynch

Anyone else 100 per cent hungrier right now than they were three months ago? Is it just me?

I’m not talking a little more peckish here and there, but truly, madly, ravenously hungry?

During the summer months I can happily skip breakfast and grab a salad for lunch, breezing through the day on a combination of protein and caffeine fumes.

Then winter hits and I need a box of granola, a litre of porridge and a four-egg omelette to coax me out of bed in the morning – and a 4lb doorstep sandwich with five fillings by 1pm. And no, concerned reader, I’m definitely not pregnant.


According to science folk, this kind of insatiable non-preggo hunger can be traced back to biology. Essentially, our bodies are programmed to gobble up as many calories as we need during daylight hours and since it gets darker earlier in winter, we get hungrier faster.

That’s all very interesting of course, but how do you prevent yourself from piling on hibernation fat when you’re not actually going to be hibernating?

The answer is in choosing foods that pack a big nutritional punch, then adding a hefty serving of protein with each meal to blitz any hunger pangs.

For instance:

Breakfast: Add a scoop of protein powder to your overnight oats

Lunch: Pop a sliced boiled egg in your wholegrain wrap at lunchtime

Dinner: Add lentils and beans to your dinner.

In between: Keep low fat cottage cheese (serve with berries or pineapple), pumpkin seeds, almonds and turkey slices on hand for snacking.

I’ve been testing this theory for the past two weeks and, with the exception of the occasional accidental cheese toasty (there’s protein in those, you know) it works like a charm.

Until I can afford to go into real hibernation, this’ll do just fine.

What are your tricks for avoiding winter weight gain? Let us know on Twitter @HerFamilydotie.