Spring is around the corner, which can provide you the opportunity for a brand-new, you! Your nutritional intake may need an overhaul from the long winter, or just in general. I have a few tips that may help ditch the bad nutrition habits, and give you a healthy fresh start. Let’s spring clean those nutritional habits.
Overhaul your cupboards
Most people, me included have a hard time reaching for something healthy when something not so healthy is within reach. Remember the old saying “out of sight, out of mind”? This is true for junk food. If you don’t have it in your cabinets, you won’t eat it. So, the first step to spring cleaning your nutrition is to take stock of what’s in your cabinets, and get rid of anything that might impede your cleaning up your nutritional habits. 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-grains, rice or almond 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)
If a junk food snack is something you want every now and again, go out to get a small amount and consume it away from your home.
Stock up on fresh produce
With spring around the corner, it won’t be long before we’re knee-deep in fresh, seasonal produce. With that said, you can still make sure you do most of your shopping in the fresh food aisles of the grocery store. The more fresh fruit and vegetables you have on hand, the easier it will be to get all of the nutrients your body needs. Always remember that the brighter and richer the color, the more nutrients they provide
Unhealthy meals come often when we are more rushed and stressed. Organization and planning keep us from grabbing a frozen dinner, fast food, or take-out order. 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 menu and put it somewhere that you will always see it.
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. Here are a few suggestions to keep your snacks on the right track.
- 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 Greek yogurt and keep it on hand for quick healthy snacks.
Enlist a professional
If you really feel your nutrition needs an overhaul this spring, book an appointment with a nutritionist or dietician. After assessing your current nutritional patterns and needs, a nutrition professional can provide you the guidance to get you on the right track, and/or help you create a meal plan for you based on your body's needs, your lifestyle, and your health and fitness goals.