The clock has sprung forward as the planet begins to wobble in the opposite direction and we will finally start to slowly gain those beloved extra hours of sunlight. With this welcomed change the air starts to warm up bringing about the desire to start fresh and new. We start shaking off the last of the cabin fever and begin the Spring Clean. Usually not only can our homes use a nice spring clean, but our diets as well. After months of chili’s, stews and comfort foods it’s time to bring back lighter and refreshing fare. Here are some simple tips that will help you spring clean your diet.
Get Back to the Basics
Fruits and vegetables are the backbone of a healthy diet. Ideally half of your food consumption for the day should be produce. Luckily, the fruits and veggies available in season practically triples with the spring. This gives you plenty of options to deliciously boost your intake. Here is an extensive list of what is coming into season this spring. Do not be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone and try something new. Try this delightful Roasted Garlic Asparagus recipe, but maybe liven it up by using purple asparagus instead. This Sugar-Free Apricot Granita is a nice refreshing way to get a fruit serving and the Stevia aids in cutting down on added sugars and calories.
The winter always brings about an array of chilis, stews, soups that bring us comfort as the cold sets in, but become heavy as spring makes its appearance. Lighten up by trading out thick gravies and broths for flavorful vinaigrettes and fresh sauces. Not only can this make your meals taste bright and refreshing, but it can help you cutting out some winter calories. Spinach Pesto and Pasta is a great recipe that incorporates that spring spinach in a light pasta dish. You could also whip up this lo-cal Blackberry Balsamic Salad Dressing using stevia for a flavorful spring veggie salad.
In the colder months everything dish seems to require some type of bread for soaking, sopping, and dipping. While there is nothing wrong with a hearty, whole grain bread we can tend to get heavy handed with it in the winter. Cut calories and cut clutter by swapping out some of that bread for lighter alternatives. These recipes, Asian Chicken Skinny Lettuce and Tomato Avocado Burgers, are great examples on how you can substitute veggies for the starch.
Welcome back spring!
Carolyn Reynaud, MS, RD, LD is a licensed registered dietitian. She received her BS in nutrition from Michigan State University and her Masters and Certificate in Public Health from Georgia State University. She has experience working in several avenues of health care including corporate wellness, clinical disease management, research, and health promotion. She has been working as a health coach specialist for close to 6 years, where she counsels patients on preventative healthcare and helps them meet their health goals. Follow her on Twitter @ReynaudCari.