By Becca Curry, Dietetic Intern, Keene State College
Spring is in the air, and it’s time for spring cleaning! The weather is getting warmer, and people are starting to feel the itch to purge their homes and welcome the new season.
But “spring cleaning” can go beyond just your home. Spring is a great time to take a closer look at your diet and “clean up” your health. Cleaning up your diet can mean getting rid of the junk and/or adding more healthful foods.
The following five tips can get you started on spring cleaning your diet:
- Swap out fruit juices for the actual fruit. Eating fruit, instead of just drinking the juice, can help cut down on added sugar yet still allows you to enjoy some sweetness.
- Go meatless one day a week. Reserving one day a week to go completely vegetarian can help reduce your saturated fat intake and boost your vegetable and grain consumption. This swap can be as easy as trying new vegetarian recipes or making substitutes for meat in meals. Tofu and mushrooms are a great meatless options to add into recipes that call for meat.
- Make the switch from white bread to whole wheat bread. Whole grains, such as 100 percent wheat bread, are recommended by the USDA to comprise at least half of our grain intake each day. This “clean up” can be made for more than just bread: Substitute whole wheat pasta or add in other whole grains such as old-fashioned oatmeal to your pantry.
- Reach for water before any other beverage. Including water in your day is important to stay hydrated. It can also help to stop you from over eating. Sometimes our thirst can be mistaken for hunger, so before grabbing your afternoon snack of the day try to sip on water and see if you are hungry or simply thirsty.
- Strive for at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. The farmers’ markets are popping up again; these markets provide lots of great local produce. Snacking on fruits and vegetables throughout the day can help satisfy your hunger and boost your nutrient intake!
Spring is also a great time to get outside and exercise. Spring cleaning your house can count as an exercise! Or you could choose to spend a Saturday walking around town and picking up produce at the farmers market for an easy and fun workout. Utilize this time and take advantage of the freshness all around you. Let it inspire you to create freshness in your life and also go outside and enjoy it! Happy spring!