5 Steps to spring cleaning your diet
It’s a whole new season, which can mean a great opportunity for a brand-new you! If your diet needs an overhaul (quite possible after a long winter), we have the tips to help ditch bad nutrition habits and make a healthy fresh start this spring.
Overhaul your cupboards
For many people, if something tempting is within easy reach, they’ll take the bait. You might buy those chips or cookies with the intention of only eating a few at a time, but going overboard is much easier than you think. That’s why the first step to spring cleaning your diet is to take stock of what’s in your cupboards and get rid of anything that might impede your good-health goals. Get rid of anything processed, filled with white sugar and flour and those fat-laden treats that are just going to tempt you. Restock with whole-grain pasta, rice crackers, low-sugar and whole-grain cereals and homemade granola rather than sugary boxed breakfasts. Other items to keep on hand for quick, healthy meals include:
- Beans (garbanzo, white beans, kidney beans)
- Canned tomatoes (great for a fresh sauce or easy tomato soup)
- Artichokes in water (add to pizza, pasta or salad)
- Pickled veggies (beets, green beans, etc. add a zesty punch to sandwiches)
- Brown rice
- Quinoa (quick-cooking, full of protein)
Stock up on fresh produce
Now that spring is here it won’t be long before we’re knee-deep in fresh, seasonal produce. Even so, making sure you do most of your shopping in the fresh food aisles of the grocery store will ensure you can create healthy, spring-ready meals. The more fresh fruit and vegetables you have on hand, the easier it will be to get all of the nutrients your body needs. The brighter, the better when it comes to which ones are the most power-packed.
The more rushed and stressed we are, the harder it is to create healthy meals. Rather than succumb to yet another frozen dinner or take-out order, we suggest getting organized. Together with your husband and/or kids, create a meal plan for the week (or even month). Choose simple (three- to four-ingredient) meals that don’t take long to cook and that everyone can help with. Chop vegetables for the week on a Sunday night and keep them in Tupperware, cook a week’s worth of brown rice and do what you can to stay ahead. Print out the week’s menus and put them on the fridge so whoever is home first can get started on dinner.
Secure healthy snacks
Having healthy snacks on hand goes a long way to help prevent overeating and growing dependent on sugary, high-fat items to quell between-meal hunger. Get yourself on track nutritionally this spring with a focus on healthy snacking.
- Keep a bowl of apples, oranges, grapefruit and bananas on the kitchen counter as incentive to grab a vitamin-rich treat.
- Cut up carrots, celery, cucumber, red and yellow peppers, broccoli and cauliflower and have it easily accessible in plastic containers in the fridge.
- Keep glass jars of raw nuts and seeds on the counter or in pre-portioned snack bags.
- Toss in the blender some beans of choice with minced or roasted garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and fresh herbs for a simple dip or sandwich spread. It should last five to seven days in the fridge.
- Stock up on low-fat yogurt and keep it on hand for quick snacks.
Enlist a professional
If you really feel your diet needs an overhaul this spring, book an appointment with a dietitian or nutritionist. After assessing your current diet, a nutrition professional can help create a meal plan for you (and offer a multitude of tips and advice) based on your body's needs, your lifestyle, and your health and fitness goals.