Need to give your diet a healthy boost? Consider giving it a good spring cleaning! Here are top tips from registered dietitian nutritionists to steer you in the right direction as you start planning your spring meals.
1. Ditch the High-Cal Beverages
Of all the diet tips, this one always tops the list. Sugary sodas, fancy coffee drinks, sweet tea, alcohol and sports drinks derail your attempts to stick to a healthy diet in just a few sips. In no time, you can gulp down hundreds of calories and you haven’t even chewed one bite! Opt for refreshing and hydrating water instead. Drink fruit juices and milk in moderation to gain the vitamins and minerals your body needs. If you think plain water is boring, try infused water–it’s an easy way to amp up the flavor.
2. Enjoy Spring Bounty
Andrea Goergen, MHS, RDN, a Washington D.C.-based dietitian shares, “Spring is my favorite time of year to refresh my eating habits! I tend to hunker down over the winter with warm comfort foods like stews and starches, so spring is my opportunity to ditch the heavier, rich foods and shed a few winter pounds. As the weather starts warming up, I get more excited about incorporating salads and raw vegetables into my day for extra fiber to keep me fuller longer, and vibrant colors for a variety vitamins and minerals. I plan to start adding in at least one salad a day this spring and to experiment with one new farmer’s market find a month. I’m hoping to liven up my meal options and expand my palate to include new vegetables and fun recipes!”
3. Eat These Three Spring Favorites
Kelli Shallal, MPH, RDN, a Phoenix-based dietitian recommends, “Add more spring seasonal produce to your diet as a way to spring clean and revamp. Some of my favorites are artichoke, avocado, and asparagus. I used to be very intimidated, but cooking artichokes is actually so easy and such a fun treat. It’s easy to boil, pressure cook and even grill! Then you can dip it in your preferred yummy sauce! Adding artichoke to your diet will add a ton of fiber and nutrients that will keep you full. I eat it as a snack instead of my normal pre-packaged bar, it’s a great spring clean swap.”
4. Reduce Food Waste
Use the springtime to go green and reduce food waste. Incorporate parts of the fruits and vegetables that you’d normally toss into the trash into new recipes. Chopped broccoli stalks and asparagus ends make great additions to vegetable soup and can be used to make your own delicious vegetable broth. Process carrot tops or beet greens into pesto sauce.
Composting is an economical way to reuse coffee grounds and discarded parts of fruits and vegetables. You can get started with our eight composting tips.
5. Shop Local
“I usually head to my local farmer’s market and look for in-season produce,” shares Goergen. Finding fresh fruits and vegetables is not only a ‘green’ choice but supports your community and neighborhood. Food is fresher when it hasn’t traveled far to get to your kitchen. Depending on where you live, you can likely find greens, herbs, berries, citrus, bell peppers or chili peppers. Seek out ways to support your regional farmers and growers.
6. Get Outside
If you’ve been holed up and stuck indoors during storms, clouds and snow, get outdoors! Not only does the sunshine and blue skies boost your mood naturally, you’ll get a healthy dose of vitamin D, which is essential for bone health and mood, so get your sunshine regularly (you can also get vitamin D from food). You might fly a kite, ride a bike, stroll in a park, hike a trail, plant some flowers, tend a garden—the sky’s the limit, just get moving.
Give your eating habits a springtime overhaul and enjoy the sunshine in new ways with these tips. Eating healthier takes intention and planning, but it’s worth every moment of investment.