The official start of spring is just a week away! If your diet has been off the rails since the holidays, don't feel bad about it. Now's the perfect time to spring clean your eating habits. Here are eight small hacks to make it even easier:
1. Skip quick fixes
Quick fixes, like detoxes, fad diets, and cleanses, won't result in any lasting weight loss. Depriving yourself isn't healthy, either, and usually backfires. Remember that you're better off with slow, steady, and sustainable. Focus on eating whole foods and never cut out entire food groups.
2. Clean out your fridge and pantry
If you want to tune up your eating habits, be mindful of the junk foods you keep in the house. Consider getting rid of any trigger foods and any junk you eat out of convenience, not because you actually enjoy eating it. After you've cleaned out your fridge and pantry, restock your shelves with fresh, less-processed choices.
3. Load up on in-season produce
One of the best things about spring is all the fresh fruits and vegetables. Load up on asparagus, rhubarb, green peas, lettuce, and strawberries. Use produce to reacquaint yourself with a lighter, fresher diet.
4. Avoid mindless eating
Trying to eat more mindfully is helpful when you're trying to be healthier. Not only does mindful eating help tune you into your body's hunger cues, but it also helps you to make wiser decisions. Concentrate more on what you're eating and if you're really hungry at that moment.
5. Drink less alcohol
Now's the time to cut back on alcohol, if you're trying to change your eating habits. Alcohol has no nutritional benefits, and it may cause you to make less healthy food choices. That being said, you can definitely consume alcohol in moderation and still be healthy.
6. Cut back on eating out
Eating healthier takes work. But putting in the effort to cook for yourself is worth it. Be sure to set aside time to do meal prep once or twice a week. Cook meals that include lean proteins, complex carbs, and at least three different vegetables for the week ahead.
7. Eat more vegetables
Very few Americans eat the recommended five to thirteen servings of fruits and vegetables a day. To make this goal easier to achieve, eat at least one veggie-based meal per day, like a big salad.
8. Slash sugar
Winter is sweets season. But spring is all about eating fresh fruits. While you don't need to eliminate all sugar from your diet, try replacing some of those sweetened drinks and snacks with healthier choices that aren't full of added sweeteners. Added sugar has no nutritional value and can increase your risk of diabetes.
Fuel your body thoughtfully
Spring cleaning your eating habits all comes down to eating with intention. Remember that spring cleaning isn't about clean eating, but about doing away with eating habits that don't make you feel happy and healthy.
- "8 Small, Easy Ways to Spring Clean Your Eating Habits," Self, April 27, 2017.
- "Five Ways to Spring Clean Your Diet," Runner's World, February 12, 2014.