Happy first day of spring!
Spring tends to bring a sense of renewal for many of us, doesn’t it? As the seasons change, and after hunkering down during the winter, we feel refreshed and inspired to get outside (c’mon Boston weather!), move more, and think about how we can spruce up our diets a bit.
If you feel like your nutrition could use a little spring overhaul, you are in luck! In this post, I’ve included six simple ways that you can spring clean your diet, diet simply referring to the food we eat, not being ON a diet. None of that over here!
You know that juice cleanses and 7 day sugar detoxes won’t be a part of this list, and neither will anything about “clean eating.” You guys know I don’t like that phrase. We’re just talking about cleaning based on the common expression of spring clean, that’s all!
Six Simple Ways to Spring Clean Your Diet
1. Organize Your Kitchen
If you are going to be doing some spring cleaning in your home, make sure to include your kitchen. Definitely organize drawers full of gadgets and Tupperware containers, but also take some time to go through your cabinets, fridge, and freezer so you can toss any expired foods or packaged stuff you simply don’t use anymore. After purging, think about what new food items you might want to stock up on so that you always have nutritious staples on hand. For your pantry, include nuts and seeds, oils and vinegars, spices and seasonings, grains like quinoa and oats, proteins like beans, tuna, and lentils, and even some baking essentials such alternative flours. Getting organized in the kitchen like this can really help set the tone for nutritional success. Out with the old, in with the new!
2. Rethink Your Drink
Try to increase your water intake by cutting back on soda and sugary drinks. It’s important we get enough water because it keeps us hydrated, it keeps our hunger and cravings at bay, it keeps our muscles functioning, and it helps us sleep better at night.
If you struggle with drinking enough water, I recommend drinking 1-2 glasses of water first thing in the morning to get it out of the way. You might also want to get a fun, bright-colored water bottle that makes you smile so you enjoy drinking out of it during the day! You can also spruce up your water by adding things like lemon, lime, cucumber, mint, etc.
Finally, you might want to think about your morning and alcoholic beverages as well. A little creamer in your coffee isn’t the end all be all (it’s actually what I call a small rock in the grand scheme of thing), but if you are having a latte chock full of sugar every single morning, you may want to do some adjusting. And enjoying an adult beverage or two is totally fine, just make sure to drink plenty of water while imbibing!
3. Get in Touch with Your Hunger Cues
Instead of always eating when the clock says to, pay attention to your body’s natural hunger and eat when you’re hungry, not when it’s time! If you are used to being on a diet that tells you exactly when and how much to eat, this might take a little bit of practice to 1) remember what both being hungry and being full ACTUALLY feel like, and 2) identify whether you are physically hungry or if you are eating out of some sort of emotion instead (stress, sadness, celebrating, boredom, etc.).
To do this, you’ll need to slow down and actually think about what you are eating and why. Some questions that I recommend asking yourself before and during eating include: am I actually hungry, why do I want to eat right now, how will I feel after I eat this, does this taste good, am I getting full, etc. For more on this, check out the old post I wrote all about the questions that help me practice mindful eating.
4. Switch Up Your Produce
If you feel bored with eating winter squash and citrus, spring is a great time of year to switch up the types of produce you are buying and eating. Think about what’s in season for you locally to add some variety to your diet and get you out of any food ruts. Some of my favorite seasonal spring produce items include asparagus, sugar snap peas, arugula, and radishes. And dill for fresh herbs!
The imminent nicer weather also means we are on the cusp of farmers market season, and farmers markets are such an awesome way to find and try new things. Consider trying one new to you fruit or vegetable a week to spruce things up!
If you are new to the farmers market world, make sure to check out my tips for making the most of your farmers market experience before you go.
5. Go PRO
This one can potentially go hand in hand with trying new produce. I use the catch phrase #GoPROeats to refer to meals and snacks that are built with protein and produce in mind, and this idea of going PRO will help simplify your food choices big time! Too many people worry about whether they should eat carbs in the morning, can they eat salted peanut butter, should they be using butter or margarine, is pasta allowed, the list goes on. I recommend taking all that overanalyzing OUT of your nutrition equation because once you just ensure that you are revolving your meals/snacks around protein and produce (veggies) as much as possible, nutrition feels so much less stressful.
6. Stop Eating Food You Hate
Actually liking how I eat is a non-negotiable. In fact, it’s precisely how I am able to sustain my healthy eating habits for the long-term without constantly feeling like I am going on and off different diets, starting over on Mondays, counting calories, depriving myself, and all that exhausting yo-yo behavior. I just make food I like, and I eat food I like. I’m not talking about making and eating pizza and cookies all the time; I’m talking about making sure I feel excited to eat the nutritious stuff! You won’t find plain chicken breasts or unseasoned steamed veggies over here because those things bring ZERO satisfaction factor to the table for me, and I could never sustain that way of eating forever.
This spring, really think about whether you fear including fat and/or carbs in your diet and how you might start adding a little more satisfaction to your meals so you like how you eat! My #sprucemethod framework for making healthy food taste better is a great place to start.
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