Our 10 steps guide to spring clean your diet
If you thought spring-cleaning was just about decluttering your home, think again! These ten steps will help you clean up your diet.
Step 1: Break winter habits
Make the most of budget-friendly seasonal produce. It’s time to swap the roast veg for bright salads and the warming hot chocolate for fruit-infused water. Strawberries, paw-paw, kiwi and guava are deliciously sweet and high in vitamins and minerals. Add some celery, broccoli, cabbage and spring onion for a bit of green crunch.
Step 2: Watch your portions
A simple trick is to measure portions by looking at your hand. Make sure your carbs and protein are no bigger than your palm, and then add a healthy fat the size of your thumb tip. Then round out your plate with plenty of veggies and greens. And don’t forget that fruits and root vegetables count as carbs.
Step 3: Decrease salt and sugar
Avoid adding sugar to your coffee or tea and steer clear of soft drinks, ice teas and other pre-packaged options. When it comes to the salt grinder, wait until you have tasted your food – stocks and many tinned foods contain plenty of salt. Turn to herbs and spices to add extra flavour.
Step 4: Probiotics are key
Probiotics keep our gut flora happy and our digestive systems in top condition. But research has shown that our bodies make better use them when we take them in through the foods we eat as opposed to taking them in tablet form. Get your daily dose of the good stuff by adding yoghurt to your breakfast or fermented pickled vegetables like kimchi and sauerkraut to your lunch or dinner.
Step 5: Feel the pulse
2016 marks the International Year of Pulses, and fittingly so. Legumes like beans, dried peas and lentils contain minerals, fibre and a hefty helping of plant protein. Plus they are super affordable and great for batch-making and freezing.
Step 6: Stay hydrated
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Aim for roughly 2L of H2O each day to help with your digestion, the transportation of nutrients and to aid your kidneys in ridding your body of toxins. Remember that water is also present in many of the foods we eat, so reach for things like watermelon and cucumber. Try to limit your alcohol intake to weekends and special occasions as alcohol has a dehydrating effect on the body.
Step 7: Breakfast of champs
Wake up your metabolism with a balanced breakfast that includes a good fat, like an avo or a nut butter. A brekkie higher in fat will keep you fuller for longer, compared to a carby meal; plus, you have the whole day to burn off any extra calories.
Step 8: Go for grains
Always choose wholegrains for their minerals and dietary fibre; they will also help to keep hunger at bay. Save time on busy workdays by making a big pot of your favourite grain over the weekend and adding it to salads, stir-fries or roast veg as you go.
Step 9: Groovy smoothie
Whether it’s a smoothie bowl or a green juice, blending your fruits and veggies into one nutritious snack is a super easy way to tick off your five-a-day. Don’t be afraid to add spinach, kale and cucumber for an antioxidant kick, and add some oats for a more filling meal.
Step 10: Remember, food is fun
Don’t see spring-cleaning your diet as a form of restriction – take the opportunity to explore foods you haven’t tried before, experiment with unusual recipes and treat yourself to something decadent once or twice a week.