Spring is the time to get your mind and body out of the winter slump and into action. The winter months often see us slip into a more sluggish way of life by staying indoors more, doing less exercise, sleeping more, eating more and craving carbohydrates. With the arrival of spring, we get the opportunity to enjoy the warmer weather and heed the call to be more active.
Spring cleaning your diet and get healthier. Image credit: Pam Uru/sxc.hu
Why not start to re-examine your daily diet and enjoy lighter foods to get your body in shape for the summer season.
Some great way you can get started is by doing the following:
Clean out your pantry and cupboards A good spring eating plan needs healthy foods like fresh fruit and veggies, nuts, legumes, wholegrain breads and cereals, lean meat, fish, and chicken. Clear out the foods that don't add good nutritional value such as soft drinks, sweet biscuits, salty snack foods, lollies and chocolates. It's far easier to eat healthy when you remove temptation.
Watch your portion sizes Food portions are slowly sizing up everywhere so it's hardly surprising that you are probably eating more when you're at home too. Get your meals under control by filling at least half your plate with veggies or salad. This leaves the other half to share between your meat and carbohydrates (potato, rice, pasta) so that you're eating dinner in the best proportions for your health.
Spring clean (out) refined carbohydrates Forget white, refined grains and sweet carbohydrates. Make the switch to wholegrain and low GI grainy breads and wholegrain breakfast cereals with less added sugar. They give you B vitamins and fibre, and fill you up longer so you're less likely to snack between meals.
Switching to wholegrains instead of refined carbs will keep you feeling fuller longer. Image credit: David Lat/sxc.hu
Up your fluids - get your 8 glasses Drink up - you need approximately 8 glasses of water a day. This will help 'flush out' your system and also fill you up so you cut back on your food intake. Besides water, stick to other healthy beverages such as herbal tea, fresh juice, clear soups or sugar free cordials.
Eat your fruit and veggies It's easy to see how we eat less fresh fruit and vegetables when it's cold outside. But now is the time to ditch this winter habit and top up nutritional reserves. Get snacking on fresh fruit like new season berries, crunchy apples and tangy mandarins, and add a big leafy salad to your main meal. Aim to get your 7-a-day (5 serves of veggies and 2 serves of fruit).
Make sure you boost up your fresh fruit and veggie intake in spring. Image credit: Alex27/sxc.hu
Start by eating breakfast every day. Make it a habit. You'll boost your metabolism so you burn more kilojoules, plus improve concentration for your morning tasks. Consider a muesli or wholegrain breakfast cereal with low fat yoghurt or light milk and diced fresh seasonal fruit - think rock melon, mandarin segments or a banana.
At lunch, go for a big salad with a good serve of lean protein - grilled chicken or a can of tuna usually works well. Go easy on the bread and make it wholegrain or wholemeal. If you get hungry between meals, avoid the trip to the local café for coffee and banana bread, it only weighs you down - literally. Try small packs of dried fruit and nut mix, fruit yogurt, wholegrain crackers and cheese, or raisin toast.
In the kitchen, switch to lighter cooking styles. Stir-fries and barbecues are perfect! And always accompany your main meal with large serves of vegetables - to make doubly sure you get your 5 daily serves of veggies.
Incorporating these few small changes into your diet can create a big difference in how you feel, how well you sleep and give you a boost in energy levels.
Use this time now to shake off the winter doldrums and get your body back into gear.