Depending on where you live, you might think winters are getting longer and longer. When it’s cold out, comfort foods like rich soups, heavy pasta dishes, and feel-good desserts can easily become coping strategies for burr-humbug weather. Yet, as the sunshine progresses and flowers emerge, not only is it a great time to lighten up your clothes, it’s also a great time to lighten up your diet.
Here are eight small, easy ways to spring clean your eating habits.
1. Embrace green. Green is the color of spring, and it’s popping up everywhere you look. Fresh produce such as asparagus, avocados, leeks, and rhubarb are all over the farmers markets this time of year, so make sure to stock up! Need some inspiration? Try adding greens to your favorite smoothie or to your morning eggs for added nutrition and flavor.
2. Utilize storage containers. Instead of throwing out excess food at the end of the day, why not save it for later? Eating leftovers is a great way to reduce food waste and save money. If you’re looking for good storage containers, make sure to get ones that have a seal around the lid to help preserve freshness. You can also opt for glass containers instead of plastic to reduce any chemical infiltration.
3. Sweeten things up. Sweet, juicy berries start to make an appearance in spring, so head over to your local market and pick some up. These tasty treasures go with everything! Add them to your oatmeal, salad, baked goods, or smoothie for added nutrition, or just snack on them for an easy midday treat. Packed with antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, and other nutrients, berries are the perfect fruit to “spring clean” your health.
4. Get rid of it. Spring is the perfect time to declutter your pantry and fridge. Toss things out that are expired and donate unopened products that aren’t your favorite (or the best for you). You can also reorganize your kitchen cupboards and shelves for easier access to spices, healthy canned goods, whole grains, and more.
5. Add probiotics. Eating foods rich in probiotics (such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, and pickled foods) is a great way to boost your good gut bacteria and overall health. Try adding vegetables to plain yogurt for a flavorful, savory meal.
6. Stick to water. As warmer weather rolls around, it’s important to make sure your skin stays healthy and hydrated. Drinking beverages such as soda or alcohol adds “empty” calories and dehydrates the skin, so try replacing those drinks with water. If you want to add more flavor to your water, infuse it with fresh herbs and berries for a unique and refreshing combination.
7. Eat more plant-based foods. You don’t have to be a vegan to benefit from eating a plant-filled diet. One day a week (or more), aim to eat a plant-centered menu. Not only are eating more plant-based foods (like beans, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables) better for the environment, you will also reap the health rewards. Try my grain salad and veggie pizza recipes for some inspiration.
8. Get cookin’. This spring, try cooking at home more than you eat out. Not only will you save money, you’re also likely to eat leaner and cleaner. Cooking at home inspires you (and your loved ones) to try new recipes or create nutritious meals with whatever you have on hand. One of my go-to meals is a power bowl; this is an easily customizable dish that allows you to use some of your favorite foods.
What are some ways you plan on spring cleaning your diet? I would love to hear your thoughts!