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How to Spring Clean Your Diet

diet

By Millie Betts, Personal Trainer and Health Coach

As the weather gets warmer, get inspired to eat good food that truly nourishes your body so you feel your best. Here are my top five clean eating tips to “healthify” your diet this spring.

Focus on one-ingredient foods.

“One-ingredient” foods are whole, natural foods that have no added ingredients. Some examples include:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, bulgur and oats
  • Natural dairy products such as natural cheeses, plain unsweetened yogurt and low-fat milk
  • Lean proteins like fresh meats and seafood, dried beans and eggs

Plan meals around a vegetable.

Instead of thinking of vegetables as just a side dish, make vegetables your meal’s main event! Choose the vegetable star of your meal first and then decide what whole grain and protein might compliment that vegetable. Choose vegetables in a rainbow of colors to ensure that you get a broad range of nutrients. Enjoy these vegetables that are in season in the spring: asparagus, peas, radishes, artichokes, broccoli, endive, fennel, green beans, radicchio and spinach. Download our printable Seasonality Chart.

Swap refined grains for whole grains.

Choose whole wheat bread, whole grain pasta and brown rice instead of white, refined grains. Try one new-to-you whole grain each week, like farro, freekeh, quinoa or amaranth to add variety to your grain choices. Many whole grains take longer to cook than their refined counterparts, so cook a large batch of your favorite whole grain and store in the refrigerator for a quick side dish or base for a salad throughout the week.

Revamp your snacks.

Snacks can be a challenge, as many of us reach for processed and packaged foods that are high in added sugar, salt and trans and saturated fat. Instead, make room for more healthy whole foods in your day by choosing fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean protein, and whole grains. Swap crackers or chips for crunchy raw vegetables, and replace candy or cookies with naturally sweet fruit like berries or grapes to satisfy your between-meals cravings. Stock your car, backpack or desk with nonperishable clean snacks for emergencies like freeze-dried fruit and nuts.

Drink more water.

The body is made up of 60% water, and it’s in every cell, tissue and organ. Water helps regulate your body temperature and helps rid your body of toxins. Choose water as your primary beverage, and add a wedge of lemon or lime for added flavor. Try unsweetened sparkling water for a fizzy fix. If you crave something warm and caffeinated in the morning, go for tea, which contains disease-fighting antioxidants.

Start the spring season off on the right foot and ‘clean up’ your diet.

Millie Betts is a Health Coach, Personal Trainer, Group Exercise Leader, Weight Management Specialist, and Yoga Instructor.  She has been helping her clients lead healthier lives, lose unwanted pounds, and become much fitter individuals for over 35 years.  Her expertise and experience helps her coach, support, encourage, and train her clients to a better self.  You can reach her at millie@personalbetts.com or check her out at www.personalbetts.com