Spring Clean Your Diet
The snow has melted, the birds are singing, and the flowers are blooming. Spring signifies a time of rebirth and rejuvenation. One of spring's most popular rituals is spring cleaning.
Spring cleaning freshens and reorganizes our homes, ridding them of clutter to make them more comfortable. The same theory can be used to improve another kind of temple – our bodies.
Spring is a great time to freshen up and reorganize your diet. Apply the basics of spring cleaning to nutrition. First, sweep away the dirt in your diet by ridding it of:
- Sugars added to foods and beverages during production. They are not naturally occurring and contribute little to no nutritional value even though they have calories, so we call them “empty calories.”
- Unnecessary snacking on unhealthy foods. Snacking is okay when hungry, but you may find yourself overindulging in quantity or choosing unhealthy foods. Avoid feeling guilty and stock up on healthy snacks like vegetables and hummus, fresh fruit, and Greek yogurt.
- Fast food, which is generally high in fat, added sugars and sodium, so it is a triple threat to your health. Even if you can't completely eliminate fast food, try cutting the amount you eat per week in half.
A major part of spring cleaning is organizing. Everything has its place, and these tips will help organize your diet:
- Have a set time for meals. This helps provide a rhythm for your body to follow, which can help improve metabolism and satiety.
- Organize your plate: one-quarter of your meal should consist of lean protein, one-quarter of whole grains, and half the plate should be filled with colorful vegetables. Low fat dairy and fruit can be added to create variety and round-out nutrition needs. Allow yourself a treat, but remember there is a time and a place for this, too.
After you have worked to spring clean your home, you want it to last. This requires a plan for maintenance, perhaps a chore list. The same should be done when cleaning up what and how you eat. Without a plan, it is difficult to succeed. Here are some planning tips:
- If you know that your challenge is healthy lunch eating because your coworkers always eat out, plan by doing research on healthy meals offered.
- If time isn't on your side, plan and prepare meals ahead of time the same time each week. Get the family involved. Have a system where each family member is responsible for part of the meal, whether it is menu planning, grocery shopping, or cooking.
So, to review, go beyond the dwelling space this spring and clean up your nutrition habits. Rid your usual intake of any foods that offer little nutritional value. Eat regular meals at around the same time each day and organize your plate to achieve balance. Finally, have a plan to avoid mishaps and make changes as needed.
If you would like to meet with a UW Health nutritionist to help with your plans and goals, please call (608) 265-5500.
Follow UW Health on Social Media
Find more tips and resources to help you live a healthy and balanced life.
Date Published: 04/13/2015