Spring has officially arrived and it’s a great chance to clean out our homes. Giving things away we no longer use helps us feel lighter. Now is the perfect chance to spring clean the fridge, our cupboards, and our diets! Follow these baby steps to clean up your diet and improve your health.
We all have things with expiry dates on our shelves, whether it’s those supplements we bought with the best intentions to take, or it’s the cherry pie filling we never got around to baking. If you have processed foods at home, toss anything that contains high fructose corn syrup or trans fats. Look for hydrogenated oils or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. These are bad for our hearts and our waistlines. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) wreaks havoc on our blood sugar and should be avoided by people of all ages, especially kids.
Sorting through cupboards and shelves is the perfect opportunity to reorganize things. Putting healthy snacks at eye level makes it easier to reach for something nutritious when you or your kids get the munchies. Nuts and seeds are a family favorite in my home. Online you can find easy recipes for energy balls or healthy snack squares. Kids love getting busy in the kitchen and becoming comfortable in the kitchen is an important life skill. Other great snack options include popcorn kernels (to be popped in an air popper or on the stove), dried fruits, whole grain crackers, and dark chocolate.
Now turn your attention to the refrigerator and freezer. Get rid of expired food or things you know you won’t use and throw out any freezer-burnt items. If you have ice crystals forming on the outside, it’s not going to taste too good on the inside.
A simple way to spring clean your diet is to select a few items you can swap for healthier choices. If you drink coffee one too many times during the day, switch one cup for green tea. Green tea is filled with antioxidants that help combat pollution. If you always eat white bread, why not switch to whole wheat? If you have a habit of drinking sugary carbonated beverages, why not switch to seltzer? You can add a squeeze of lemon or lime for flavor, or even mix in some sugar free juice. Reserve sodas for special occasions and eating out, and drink more water throughout the day. Low levels of hydration can lead to headaches, fatigue, and constipation. Optimal hydration goes beyond drinking when you’re thirsty; aim to drink two liters of water a day or more and see how much better you feel.
Picture: Jessie Essex (Flickr)