Spring diet: Give your kitchen a healthy makeover
Spring cleaning your home usually means getting out the mop and sponges for a serious seasonal scrub-down, but spring is also the perfect time to clean out your pantry and fridge to make room for more nutritious, body-boosting foods. SheKnows.com got some insight from Heidi Skolnik, MS, CDN, FACSM, about how to give your kitchen a healthy makeover for spring.
Put unhealthy foods out of sight
There are many food items hanging around your kitchen that could be sabotaging your diet. For starters, Skolnik says unhealthy impulse snacks left out on the kitchen counter are going to lead to temptation, so either get rid of them or keep them out of sight. "If you must have them in your house, at least put them away; keep them out of sight and in a not-so-convenient place to get them," suggests the nutritionist.
Swap in healthier alternatives to low-nutrient foods
Ranch dressing, mayonnaise-based dips and other high-fat, low-nutrient foods should also get the health heave-ho. Skolnick suggests replacing these items with guacamole, hummus and salsa, or even a sundried tomato or sweet red pepper coulis as a sandwich spread and a low-fat, nutritious flavor enhancer.
Get rid of expired foods
Anything past its due date or that you can't even remember buying should also get tossed. "Clean out and start from scratch," Skolnik says. This means 10-year-old spices, old boxes and canned goods that have all probably expired.
Make portion control an easy to-do
As you spring-clean your kitchen, you should also make it easy to practice portion control. That means getting rid of large containers of unhealthy or high-fat food.
Snack smarter and smaller
- Instead of a gallon or pint of ice cream, keep bars and individual cups on hand, or go with a lower-calorie version of cold treats like Skinny Cow fudge bars.
- Instead of a big bag of chips, keep individual lunch-size bags on hand.
- Instead of blocks of cheese, stock some 1 oz. rounds or sticks.
- Instead of handfuls of nuts from a bottomless jar, portion a serving out (about 24 almonds) or try KIND Bars, which contain nuts and seeds, but allow for just the right amount without overdoing it on fat and calories.
Keep healthy portions on hand for family meals
Keep individual or family-size portions of lean protein (poultry and/or other kinds of meat) in freezer bags with the date on it—ready to be defrosted and turned into a stir-fry, stew or entrée whenever you need them.
Scale down your dishware
Skolnik also suggests using smaller plates to serve on. Big plates can leave us feeling like we didn't eat enough, whereas small plates help keep portions in check.