While you’re spring cleaning your home and wardrobe, why not spring clean your eating habits as well. Rethink your old eating habits and make healthier food swaps for a fresh start with these tips.
Skip detoxes, fad diets and juice cleanses. – These “quick fixes” won’t result in any lasting health benefits because they don’t promote lifestyle changes. They often require cutting out entire food groups and restricting favorite foods which isn’t sustainable. Rather than trying any of these diets that promise drastic results focus on a more moderate loss of 1-2 pounds per week.
Clean out your fridge and pantry (LITERALLY). – While you’re spring cleaning your kitchen toss out trigger foods (foods that make you lose control once you start eating them) and anything you eat for convenience, not because you actually savor the taste. Restock with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein.
Eat more mindfully. – Mindful eating is a powerful tool to regain control of your eating. It is eating slowly and without distraction while engaging your senses by noticing colors, smells, sounds, textures and flavors. Mindful eating can help tune your body’s hunger and satiety cues so you’re not eating too little or too much. Avoid mindless eating by eliminating distractions such as turning off the TV and putting your phone away.
Start cooking, stop taking out. – Plan, Shop and Prep. Cooking for yourself gives you total control of what you put in your body. Plan your meals, shop according to your plan and prep on days you aren’t as busy to help save time and avoid eating out on your busier days. It can be as easy as chopping vegetables, cooking chicken and boiling eggs.
Hydrate – Water is vital for the function of every organ system in your body. It helps us to circulate oxygen, eliminate toxins and stave off hunger. Try to get half of your body weight in ounces of water daily. If you don’t like drinking plain water try adding slices of citrus fruit or cucumber. You could also flavor with berries, fresh ginger root or fresh mint.
Cut back on these foods
• Alcohol – Alcohol takes a toll on your liver which is the main organ that “detoxes” your body. Alcohol has little nutritional value and often causes you to make poor food choices after drinking it.
• Added sugars – Added sugars are empty calories and can make you feel fatigued. Try replacing sweets with fresh fruit instead.
• Refined grains – Refined grains like white rice, white bread and white pasta are stripped of healthy fiber, vitamins and minerals. Check food labels carefully and look for foods that say 100% whole grain or have whole grains as the first ingredient.
• Heavily Processed foods – Prepared foods with long lists of ingredients are loaded in sugar, salt, synthetic flavors and preservatives. Heavily processed foods are associated with increased weight gain, risk of disease and inflammation. Try to eat more whole foods instead.
Eat more of these foods
• Protein – Protein helps with satiety, blood sugar control, muscle maintenance and controlling carb cravings. Include protein with all meals and snacks.
• Vegetables – Vegetables are low in calories and rich in nutrients including antioxidants and fiber. Fill half of your plate with colorful vegetables and choose vegetables for snacks more often.
• Whole Grains – Whole grains contain important nutrients such as zinc, magnesium, B vitamins and fiber while refined grains do not. Replace your refined grains with 100% whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa and whole wheat.
• Healthy Fats – Including healthy fats from foods like avocados, nuts, fish, olives and olive oil can help curb cravings for processed carbs.