14 Apr It’s That Time Again…Top 5 Tips to Spring Clean Your Diet
By Elizabeth Canepari, MS, RD, Contributing Blogger
As the snow begins to melt and the sun shines a little longer each night, the calming sense of warm spring weather tends to drift over me. Spring is a time for fresh blooms, long walks, and a shiny new pedicure to prep your piggies for sandal wearing days. Along with all these joys comes the very tedious (but necessary!) task of getting your house, closets, and yard in tip top shape. While you’re elbow deep in spring cleaning, I thought I would inspire some of you to clean up your diet with these 5 easy tips.
More Veggies Matter
One of the easiest ways to clean up your diet is to pump up your daily intake of produce. Veggies are not only jam packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, but they’re also loading your plate with nature’s beautifully colored eye candy. For the biggest nutritional bang for your buck, try loading up on this season’s produce: asparagus, leeks, radishes, or try this delicious Stuffed Artichoke recipe from Ellie Krieger.
Skip the Added Sugar
Sugar really can be a downer in an otherwise healthy diet. It packs on tons of added calories without any nutritional benefits. It’s also a sneaky little sucker that hides under tons of aliases in an ingredient list. Keep your peepers open for all things sugar as you clean up your diet: agave, corn syrup, glucose, sucrose, and dextrose are a few common ones, but check out this list for a full array of added sugars. Instead, sweeten up your day with a fresh piece of fruit, or substitute fig or date puree in baked goods or smoothies.
Watch Your Booze
Don’t get me wrong, I love a cocktail just as much as you, but limiting alcohol is an easy way to get you eating (and drinking!) a little cleaner. Martinis and other mixed drinks are often filled with extra sugar and additives that are simply not necessary. An easy way to clean up your night out is to stick with one or two spirits mixed with club soda and fresh citrus, or opt for an antioxidant filled 5-fluid ounce glass of red wine.
Whole, Not Processed Foods
Processed foods should take a back seat this spring as you concentrate on eating clean. More often than not these convenience foods are laden with extra calories, fat, sugar and sodium. Focusing on whole foods is actually easier than you think. You can:
- Swap your boxed breakfast cereal for a low-fat Greek yogurt with berries
- Replace your afternoon granola bar for a few cups of air popped popcorn and a handful of nuts
- Trade your bottled salad dressing for extra virgin olive oil and your favorite vinegar
Water, Water, and More Water!
Staying well hydrated is just as important as filling your belly with wholesome foods. Drinking water throughout the day will help curb your appetite, help your body utilize vitamins and minerals, and even keep your skin looking soft and supple. If you find yourself getting tired of plain old H20, try spicing things up with fresh herbs, fruit slices, or even whole peppercorns for an added kick.
Here’s to a happy, healthy, and clean spring!