It’s spring! It’s (almost) time to pack away our winter coats and sweaters - finally! As we clean out our closets, it’s also the perfect time to check out and spruce up our diets too. From planting a garden, to cleaning out the fridge, here are 5 ways simple ways to spring clean your diet.
Plant a Garden
Get excited for summer veggies, like tomatoes and peppers, by starting your seeds about 6-8 weeks before the last frost. Not only will you get delicious and inexpensive herbs and veggies (have you tasted a home grown tomato versus a store bought one? No comparison!), but it also counts as moderate exercise. Bonus: gardening has been found to be great for mental health and home grown veggies can have more nutrients and less pesticides than those from the supermarket. If you don’t have a yard, or the time, try planting a window box with a few herbs and spices to start.
Check Out Your Portions
Have you ever actually measured out a bowl of cereal? A portion of cereal that fills the bowl can contain 2 or sometimes even 3 servings. While measuring things out every day can be a drag and lead to a different set of unhealthy eating habits, every once in awhile it’s good to check in so you can eyeball it the next time. (I know I personally get a little heavier with my pour of kefir after a few months of not measuring.) Don’t have time to measure? Check out this portion guide: Your Easy, Peasy Guide to Serving Sizes.
Clean Out Your Kitchen
Go through your fridge and pantries and toss any expired foods. Give the fridge a wipedown and straighten things up. You’ll be more likely to grab a healthy snack like some carrot sticks or a yogurt if they’re not buried in the back. Better yet, check out the labels on your packaged goods and toss things with lots of added sugars, salt, trans or saturated fats. Say goodbye to refined carbohydrates too by saving products that have more than 3 grams of fiber, say “whole grain” as the first ingredient, or have the “whole grain stamp”.
Add in Spring Veggies
Winter foods tend to be heavy and starchy. As the days get longer, spring is a time to lighten up your wardrobe and your diet. In the spring, fresh seasonal produce begins to pour its way into our supermarkets and farm stands. Be on the lookout for fresh artichokes, tender asparagus stalks, strawberries and other delightful offerings.
Skip the Cleanses and Detoxes
While your aim may be to jumpstart your way into a healthy diet, research shows that fad diets just plain don't work - and they can lead to some nasty health related side effects. Instead, pick one or two small things you want to work on this week (suggestions: add one more servings of vegetables a day, drink one or two more glasses of water, or take a walk after dinner each night). As your confidence grows, you can add more goals on from there. These healthy changes are sustainable and will lead to lifelong - instead of month long - changes. And remember, anyone who goes to the beach has a “beach body”.