Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ever Wanted to Spring Clean Your "Diet"?

I know that at times we can really get bored with the same humdrum eating plan, but it doesn't have to be this way!  Creativity in with your eating habits is just as important as mixing up your Fitness Routine, it keeps you engaged and on track! Yes, there is such a thing as Spring Cleaning Your "Diet".. although I hate to call it that...  let's call it instead Eating Habits or Nutrition Routine.  I say this because “Diets” are usually unhealthy fads that end up destroying your metabolism and can lead to significant health problems in the future!

That being said, the weather is finally getting warmer…. It’s time to lighten up and brighten up your kitchen – and your cooking…  I'm serious, everyone will love you for it, including your  partner!

Here’s How to Start Fresh:

1. Clean out your cupboards

Turns out canned goods do expire.  I was rummaging through a few of my non-perishables yesterday and actually realized that I had a few things that had passed their expiry a few eons ago.   Taking the time to go through all the jars and cans not only freed up space, but got me thinking of what to replace them with!  I went out and got some fresh-cut-salsa (half a cup counts as a serving of veggies!).  Another area to also focus on should be the freezer, dump out anything discolored or covered in ice, especially if you haven’t followed the “first in, first out” rule. Refresh your spices — they lose their zip after three years. To avoid waste, buy small quantities in bulk and store them in labeled, airtight containers.  I’m finding that containers are seriously the only way to go, a great place to buy at the moment is IKEA, they have a range of smaller containers for about $8.00!

2. Dress up your plate
With me, and this may be with you as well, if something doesn’t look all that great, I’m a little more hesitant to try it.  So much of eating is visual, and what’s the harm in adding a little Garnish or taking time to plate your food nicely?  For Garnish you can use a slice of grapefruit, a wedge of watermelon or sprigs of parsley, cilantro or watercress. They’re free of fat and sodium and contain virtually no calories.

Bonus: A study in the British Journal of Nutrition found watercress combats breast cancer by suppressing cancer-cell growth.

3. Go for seasonal foliage
A while back we talked about eating local, and in season.  There’s a lot of health benefits to this method, it also ties you into the Community by getting to know Local Vendors and supporting infrastructure, and keeps you eating a variety of foods all year round.  Think pea sprouts, rhubarb and lettuce greens to start, along with lots of other fresh local produce. Why not go for a serving of asparagus? It’s low in calories (fewer than four per spear) and contains folic acid, potassium, fiber and vitamins A, B6 and C. (Store it up to five days in the fridge by wrapping ends in damp paper towel covered with plastic wrap.) Another healthy seasonal treat? Strawberries. They’re a great source of vitamin C, packing as much as oranges, bite for bite, and they also contain fiber.

4. Power up with probiotics
This flu season has seriously been a killer.  I think after about three times of being hit with a different flu, and/or seeing my kids, friends and family affected by the bug, it’s time to load up on probiotics.  Let’s face it if winter colds wreaked havoc on your health, antibiotics may have depleted your body’s good bacteria; you should chat to a doctor about probiotic pills as well, and stock up on yogurt with “live active cultures.”

Make it a habit: Have plain yogurt with fresh berries for dessert every Sunday night.

5. Eat more fresh fish
Yesterday my 4-yaer old dragged me around Superstore as he pointed out all the amazing things he could take home and eat.  Surprisingly we found ourselves in the Seafood section, and he haphazardly grabbed a massive fish out of one of the bins and threw it in the Cart.  “it’s good for me Mommy, Right?”…. Right!  Spring signals the start of fish season, so forgo the red meat in favor of this firm, mild-tasting fish, which is a good source of lean protein and B vitamins, magnesium and omega-3s.

6. Cleanse & detoxify
Detoxifying can be an easy way to kick-start healthy choices, but trendy plans can be harmful, so make sure you’re going about this the healthy way. Choose an old wives remedy, or Naturopathic method that fosters smart habits.  I myself enjoy the lemon, cayenne and maple syrup cleanse, but everyone’s different…. 

Try just following the three Fs if you’re not quite sure:

Fiber: Women need 25 grams of fiber a day to maintain a healthy digestive system. Read food labels (anything over 2 g counts as a source of fiber) and enjoy a diet high in fruit, veggies, whole grains, nuts and seeds to guarantee you’re getting your daily dose; we just stocked up yesterday!

Fluids: Aim for six to eight cups of hydrating fluids a day (including water, 100 percent real fruit juice, tea, milk and watery fruits and vegetables). Not sure you’re getting enough? If you have to visit the loo every one to two hours, that’s a good sign!

Fitness: Exercise is key when it comes to bowel regularity. Keep things moving with a minimum of about 20 minutes of exercise a day, for a total of 150 minutes per week.


stacey said...

Great tips, I agree that now it is spring, I really want to lighten
my food choices up.

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