Springtime is a great time to clean up our homes, yards and even our nutrition. During the cold dark winter months, many of us crave comfort foods and foods that tend to be a bit heavier. As the days grow warmer and new foods come into season, why not use this time to focus on eating healthier. Here are seven ways to eat healthier this Spring.
Eat Spring Vegetables
Many of us have heard the guidelines that we are supposed to eat 2 to 3 cups of vegetables daily and that most of us miss the mark. Depending on where you live, the grocery store shelves are stocked with seasonal vegetables. There are many benefits from eating seasonal produce, but one of my favorites is that you can add variety to your diet and mix it up. They next time you go to the store, pick up some asparagus, radishes, green peas or artichokes and try a new recipe. You’ll not only enjoy the new flavors, but you’ll get closer to the recommended daily intake of vegetables.
Minimize Processed Foods
Not all processed foods are created equal, and some are better for you than others. A can of beans is technically processed, but it contains more nutrients than a box of cookies. A general rule of thumb is to shop on the perimeter of the grocery store and to choose items that are closest to their original form to avoid eating foods that are loaded with sugar, sodium and saturated fats.
Cut Back on Sugar
Sweet treats are delightful from time to time, but they should be consumed in moderation. When you’re hit with a sweet craving, try to eat fruit instead to satisfy that sweet tooth. Not only do new vegetables come into season during the spring, but so do many fruits such as strawberries and citrus fruits. Following the tip above will also help you cut down on sugars. Many processed foods including bread, salad dressing, BBQ sauce, etc. are loaded with sugars.
Snack from the Refrigerator Rather than the Pantry
We all get those afternoon cravings and feelings of hunger. Rather than grabbing the bag of chips from the pantry, open the refrigerator and choose fruits, vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt or hummus to satisfy your hunger.
Our heart, brain, muscles and so many more bodily functions require water to work properly. Aim to drink 8-10 cups of water per day. Another trick is that if you’re feeling hungry, drink a glass of water before eating a snack. For some, hunger and thirst can be subtle, and that glass of water can make the feeling subside.
Plant a Garden
It’s fun and rewarding to use herbs and vegetables that you’ve grown to cook a recipe. Or you can create a meal based on what is fresh in the garden. This is a great way to make healthier choices while adding flavor and nutrition to your diet.
The key to successfully eating healthy over a long period of time is to eat a variety of foods and to treat yourself in moderation. We all know that highly restrictive diets may work for a short time, but they are difficult to stick with over the years. A better approach is to create a healthy lifestyle that allows for moments of indulgence, while staying focused on your overall health and wellbeing.
So, as the days become warm and the sun shines longer, focus on ways to eat healthier this spring. This will bring new life to your diet and energy to your soul.