Say goodbye to winter and open the windows to the warm breezes – spring is here! This uplifting change in season typically inspires days of deep cleaning every inch of the house, organizing closets and donating unwanted goods.
Along with the household upgrades, it’s the perfect time to refresh your diet. As you introduce healthy habits to your diet, you’ll feel as light and easygoing as the spring breezes. Plus, as you improve your health, you’ll also boost your mood.
Ready to take on the challenge? Here are some tips for spring cleaning your eating habits:
Give your fridge and pantry some attention
Don’t leave the refrigerator and pantry out of your reorganizing efforts this spring. Get rid of any stale items or junk foods, and reorganize the spaces so you have a good idea of everything you already own. Tackle the spice rack and replace any seasonings that are missing or running low. Make room for healthy new additions and give every item a logical home. Take advantage of crispers and cheese drawers in the fridge to keep your food fresh and leave room on the shelves for meal prep containers. Once you know where everything is, cooking meals and finding healthy snacks will be less of a chore.
Eat your fruits and vegetables
The No. 1 way to up the nutrition value in your diet is to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Challenge yourself to add one to every meal, such as fruit with yogurt in the morning, carrots and hummus for a mid-morning snack, salad for lunch and roasted vegetables with dinner. Kerri-Ann Jennings, registered dietician and associate nutrition editor of EatingWell magazine, shared another way to get in the habit of eating more vegetables: Make them the main event for dinner. Decide which veggies you want to cook first, then choose protein and starch. That way, you’re less likely to overlook this important component of your evening meal.
Head to your local farmers market to find the freshest selection of produce. Make it part of your weekly routine and even burn a few extra calories as you browse the stalls. As an added bonus, you can support your community one vegetable at a time.
Be mindful of portion sizes
Even the healthiest foods are better consumed in moderation. An important part of spring cleaning your diet is making small shifts in your eating habits to avoid accidentally overeating. When you’re serving up meals, don’t let your eyes get bigger than your stomach. Start with a little less than you think you want, and you’ll probably find that you don’t need seconds. Plus, you’ll have leftovers to eat for lunch the next day.
Keep up the portion control at restaurants, too. They often serve twice as much as you actually need, but when it’s in front of you, it’s easy to clear the plate. To avoid the temptation, ask for a to-go box before you even dig in to your food and set aside half of the meal. Once again, you’ll have some delicious leftovers for lunch later in the week.
You’ll also want to avoid mindless snacking. If you sit down to watch a movie with an entire carton of ice cream or bowl of popcorn on your lap, there’s a good chance you’ll accidentally finish the whole thing. Instead, make sure you scoop out smaller portions and leave the container in the kitchen.
Unfortunately, alcohol doesn’t keep you hydrated and it adds unnecessary calories to your diet. While you don’t have to give up beer, wine and cocktails entirely, try to limit your consumption to moderate drinking. The 2015 to 2020 Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture suggested no more than two drinks a day for men and one for women.
Of course soda and other sugary drinks also won’t keep you hydrated. Instead, be conscious about how much water you’re drinking every day. Take a reusable water bottle with you on the go, and aim to finish and refill it at least three or four times throughout the day. If you’re craving more pizzazz in your cup, you can infuse your water with fruit for a healthier alternative to flavored drinks. Check out these infused water combo ideas from Wholefully to get you started.
Even small shifts in your habits will make a difference, so don’t worry if these changes don’t happen overnight. As long as you’re conscious of healthy eating habits, you’re on the right track!