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Picture: Lee Griffith/The West Australian

As the winter chill sets in, so too can the temptation to overindulge in comfort foods. So here are some simple tips to keep off the kilos and stay happy during the colder months.

Eat breakfast:
Those who eat breakfast tend to be a lighter weight and find it easier to maintain their weight, according to the Dietitians Association of Australia.

"Not eating breakfast puts people's reserves down so then at 10.30am, when they are starving, it is too easy to jump into the biscuit barrel, grab a muffin or a chocolate bar to see them to lunch time," DAA spokesperson Margaret Hays said.

Porridge, toast with scrambled or poached eggs, wholegrain cereal or a smoothie were all good breakfast options.

Ms Hays advised those people who simply couldn't face breakfast first thing in the morning to be prepared and have something healthy on hand.

This meant that when the hunger hit mid-morning they would not need to reach for the junk options.

Don't forget your Omega 3s:
"People think about fish more in the summer than they do in the winter," Ms Hays said.

But it was especially important to keep up your intake of Omega 3s in the colder months because, apart from the other well known health benefits, they could help stave off the winter blues.

Ms Hays said along with seafood, there were plant sources of Omega 3 including in canola oil and margarines, nuts (particularly walnuts), seeds (such as linseed), hemp oil, soybeans and dark green vegetables.

Supplements were an option for people not getting enough Omega 3.

Portion control:
Resist the temptation to go back for seconds and thirds.

"If people want seconds, I say put your timer on for 20 minutes and then, if you are still hungry, have seconds but probably by then you will have forgotten about it anyway," she said.

She added that half of your plate at your main meal should be vegetables or salads.

Keep up your fluids:
Many people forget to drink water during winter.

"Often we think we are hungry when, in fact, we are dehydrated," Ms Hays said.

Good food rather than pills were best for colds and flu.

Ms Hays said there was more nutritional benefit and more pleasure from eating whole foods than popping pills to ward off colds and flu.

"I would rather see people having whole foods rather than vitamins or minerals because a lot of them are just passing through your body.

"And they are not satisfying. You're not going to go 'Gee, I really enjoyed that vitamin pill'."

Make healthy food swaps:
Swapping to a healthier option can help save thousands of kilojoules each day without sacrificing taste.

An easy swap to make was to low-fat dairy, Ms Hays said; for example, people who drank four to five lattes a day could save up to 20g of fat daily if they swapped to low-fat milk.

She suggested those looking for something sweet on a winter's night should try some of the old fashioned fruit-based recipes such as stewed apples with custard, lemon delicious and crumbles.

"People will say 'I can't have that' but I say I'd rather you have that than four biscuits," Ms Hays said.