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Ten Ways to Spring Clean Your Nutrition

Spring is the season of renewal, making this seasonal shift the perfect time to hit the reset button on your eating habits. As the weather (finally!) warms up and the days get longer, take this opportunity to evaluate what dietary habits you may have accumulated over the winter months that aren’t serving you anymore. Just like you'd declutter your home during spring cleaning, you can declutter your nutrition too.

Here are ten ways to spring clean your nutrition and start fresh.

Purge Your Pantry: Take time to seriously go through your pantry, and toss out anything that’s past its expiration date, unhealthy snacks, sugary cereals, refined carbs like white bread, and ultra-processed foods. Having these tempting items out of the house removes the opportunity to mindlessly snack on them and creates space for healthier options.

Restock With Healthy Staples: Now that you've cleared out the foods that don’t align with your nutritional goals, it's time to restock intentionally. Keep nutritious, whole foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats front and center. Having these nutrient-dense options on hand makes it easier to throw together quick and healthy meals.

Drink More Water: As temperatures rise, it’s crucial to reach your hydration goals. Water helps us regulate our temperature, optimizes our digestion, and helps boost mental and physical clarity. Research shows that carrying a reusable water bottle, and refilling it throughout the day, makes us more likely to meet our water goals. For an easy baseline estimate, take half your body weight in pounds, and drink that amount in ounces of water per day.

Load Up on Fiber: Getting more fiber from things like fruits, veggies, beans, lentils, nuts, and whole grains helps you feel fuller for longer and keeps your digestion regular. Having diversity in the types of fiber we consume promotes a diverse, balanced gut microbiome and nourishes different species of beneficial gut bacteria. Aim for at least 25-30 grams of fiber per day.

Eat More Greens: Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and spring mix are nutrient powerhouses and great sources of fiber, too. Try adding them to smoothies, salads, soups, sandwiches, and more. Aim for two loosely packed handfuls per day.

Be Mindful of Added Sugars: Limiting added sugars from sweetened foods and drinks can have great benefits for your overall health. Get into the practice of reading ingredient lists and looking for options where added sugars are at a minimum. Keep in mind that whole foods like fruit do contain natural sugars, but here we're focused on the added sugars found in processed foods, baked goods, and sweetened beverages.

Cook More Meals at Home: When you're in control of what goes into your meals, it's easier to make nutritious choices. Takeout may be convenient, but restaurant dishes typically contain higher amounts of sodium, fat, and calories and portion sizes tend to be larger, leading to overconsumption that you may not realize. Cooking at home helps you make better choices and is a great way to learn more about different foods. Making home-cooked meals the foundation of your diet, and saving takeout for special occasions, can make a huge difference in helping you reach your nutritional goals.

Plan Ahead: Block off time each week to plan out most of your meals and snacks. Going into the week with a plan ensures you have everything you need in the pantry and fridge and prevents you from making unhealthy last-minute decisions when you're overly hungry. For bonus points, prep items like chicken breast, chopped vegetables, overnight oats, smoothie ingredients, and pre-portioned trail mix to save time when making meals later in the week.

Practice Mindful Eating: Mindful eating is the practice of being present in the eating experience in a non-judgmental way and using your body's hunger and fullness cues to determine when to eat and when to stop eating. Limiting distractions (like phones and TV), slowing down when eating, and paying attention to how full or hungry you are while eating are our dietitian-recommended practices to begin eating more mindfully.

Use Nutrition by Addition: Instead of focusing on what to cut out, think about what you can add to meals to help make them healthier and more satisfying. This may look like adding veggies and ground turkey to mac and cheese, adding Greek yogurt and fruit alongside a cookie, or pairing chips with a high-protein dip. Instead of total restriction, aim for balance - allow yourself to enjoy some less nutritious choices in moderation, while making sure to also include plenty of nourishing, healthy foods.

Spring brings new beginnings, making there no better time to make some changes to your eating habits. Start incorporating these tips to give your nutrition a thorough spring cleaning.

Need extra support? Our team of dietitians is here to provide personalized, 1-on-1 counseling for any nutritional need. Schedule a free discovery call here!

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