Spring is the perfect season to rethink your old eating habits and replace them with new, healthier ones. Learn how to spring clean your diet to feel better and, hopefully, look better too.
Some people have that kind of metabolism that makes it unnecessary for them to think about what they eat or losing weight. Lucky them! One thing is for sure: that’s not my case. So, every spring I look in the mirror and wonder about how to lose some pounds so that I can look better when wearing lighter, warm season clothes. And here comes the answer: it’s time to spring clean your diet! After all, eating healthy goes hand in hand with my intermittent fasting diet. Still, a healthy diet shouldn't be of interest only for people who want to lose extra pounds. We all need to refresh our diets after a long winter of eating all kinds of fatty comfort foods.
3 tips to spring clean your diet easily
1. Eat more mindfully
Some people think eating mindfully is kind of an abstract advice when it comes to diet. But that’s not true! Eating more and more mindfully makes you think before you eat, and that means making choices that usually bring you to the right decision. Mindful eating is all about paying attention to the way we eat. Also, take your time to chew your foods and notice the different tastes and textures of every bite. That will make your meals more satisfying and may help with weight loss.
2. Cut back on these 6 foods as much as you can
You may not succeed in completely eliminating the sugar in your diet and that’s OK! If you want to spring clean your diet or just eat healthily, look for small ways to cut back on your sugar intake. Reduce or eliminate the amount of sugar added to your coffee and tea; skip sweetened yogurt and choose plain yogurt instead (if you want it to be sweet, add fresh fruits to it); forget about sugary drinks; when you want a sweet treat, reach for fruit most of the time and eat desserts only during some planned cheat days.
We all eat too much salt! To reduce the salt in your diet, start reading food labels and avoid ingredients that are too salty. Cook more at home and use less salt and more spices and herbs to flavor your food. Use fresh meats rather than packaged, and fresh vegetables, rather than canned and frozen, because the former are lower in sodium.
Alcohol is not essential to your diet, which means you can eliminate it completely without suffering any nutritional imbalance. Still, your soul may have some objections. If you use to drink more than two glasses of wine, spirit, cocktail or beer, every day, just reduce the alcohol amount. According to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines, men should consume no more than two drinks per day and women a maximum of one drink per day. One drink is defined as 5 fluid ounces of wine, 12 fluid ounces of beer or 1.5 fluid ounces of 80-proof liquor (like rum or vodka). To spring clean your diet you must take care of your liver, the main organ that cleans up your system.
It may be on hand to use white flour, white rice, and regular pasta, but it's better for your health to replace all of them with foods that list whole grains as the first or second ingredient.
Processed foods are loaded with all of the ingredients above. Yes, you should reduce all of these items as much as you can. But it's almost useless to cut down on the sugar and salt in your homemade meals if you still eat processed foods. Besides being unhealthy, these items usually come up with many calories. To spring clean your diet you must skip them and choose healthy snacks instead.
You don’t have to become a vegetarian unless you want it. But you can still have less meat in your diet. Maybe once or twice a week? Reducing the meat consumption means lowering your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Also, people who eat a plant-based diet tend to weigh less than meat-eaters, one study says.
3. Eat more of these 6 foods
Do you need extra reasons for eating more vegetables? If you do, then note that spring is the master of all seasons, thanks to its seasonal veggies like lettuce, radishes, arugula, spring onion, asparagus, bok choy, kale, and spinach. Add as many vegetables to your regular meals as you can. If you do that, you’ll feel satisfied quicker and for a longer time. They also have fewer calories.
Spring fruits are colorful, tasty, and rich in nutrients and antioxidants. They’re also low in calories compared to any dessert, so enjoy them instead of a cake slice. Don’t you just love cherries and strawberries?
You don’t have to be a vegetarian or vegan to eat plenty of pulses. Dry peas, beans, lentils, and chickpeas are high in protein, fiber, and healthy unsaturated fat. Add lentils to salads, make a bean dip for veggies, or try roasted chickpeas.
Replace white flour with whole-wheat flour as often as you can, because it helps to spring clean your diet. But try other whole grains too. Cook with ancient grains such as quinoa, amaranth or buckwheat, at least once a week.
When you want to lose weight, you usually try to eliminate fatty foods. But not all fats are bad. Some high-fat foods like avocados, nuts, eggs, fatty fish, olive oil, and dark chocolate are good for you. Just be sure you eat them in moderation. Some nutrition experts say eating more healthy fats can help curb your cravings for processed carbs.
I know water is not exactly food, but it nourishes your system because it is vital for the function of every organ. If you already drink about 8 glasses of water daily, you’re ok. If not and you don't like drinking plain water, flavor it up with slices of lemon, lime, or other fruits. Also, because coffee dehydrates, you can replace one cup of it with green tea, which has many health benefits, among them increasing fat burning.