With this beautiful weather we have been having recently, what better time than now to start thinking about our plans and goals as we enter spring.
Contrary to the current practice of setting ‘new years resolutions’ on the 1st of Jan, spring is actually a much better time for your mission towards a new, healthier and happier you!
With longer days, warmer weather and beautiful flowers beginning to bloom, this is a time when we are more likely to be motivated to make and stick to some long term goals. It also helps that spring is a great time for getting plenty of fresh fruits and veggies to accompany all your favourite dishes.
Spring has always been a time to have a good clear out – out with the old, in with the new, so this year why not have the same attitude towards your diet?
Clean out your cupboards and rid your kitchen of most of your “junk” or processed foods. Remember there are plenty of Food Banks who would welcome any unwanted foods so be sure to check them out before throwing foods away.
Instead – the next time you go shopping try to stock your cupboards with fresh, local and in-season produce and ingredients so you can start cooking more from scratch and eating more ‘real foods’. There are plenty of ways you can pick up easy to cook recipe ideas such as BBC Good Food, Change 4 Life and also supermarket magazines and websites. Most of these are also useful if you’re cooking on a budget!
Some great examples of foods to opt for during spring include – asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, kale, sweet potatoes – all of which are high in vitamin A, vitamin C, folate and fibre. Lemons, oranges and rhubarb are also great choices during the spring months. Why not use lemon instead of salad dressings to add flavor and use rhubarb and orange for homemade crumbles and cakes.
During the winter months snacking on chocolate, biscuits and less healthy options is always tempting. But during spring why not make some changes to those calorie-laden snacks and swap them for nutrient-bursting, healthier options to go along with your new, healthy plans! See our ‘healthy food swaps‘ blog post for some healthy ideas but remember that nuts, dried fruits, oat cakes, crackers, plain yoghurt and seeds are all great options to have as snacks in-between meals.
After a long cold winter you can make sure you build-up your body’s defenses and help to keep satisfied after meals by opting for fibre and protein rich foods such as lentils, beans and pulses. These foods are easy to incorporate into any dishes including sauces and salads and come at a very low price. Additionally, opt for eggs, lean meat or fish at breakfast when you have a little extra time and choose nuts as a snack to top you up with iron and quality protein throughout the day!
Lastly, keeping your body hydrated is key to keeping healthy so try and get used to a new regime to ensure you are getting your 6-8 glasses of fluid a day. Fresh and free tap water is the best option to go for but if you aren’t keen, try mixing fizzy water with 100% fruit juice or infuse water with some fresh fruit and herbs (see pic below).
Do try to avoid sugar-laden soft drinks – as we all know these aren’t good for our health- but, as with everything, enjoying one every now and then won’t hurt anyone!
Enjoy your spring and try to keep motivated – good health is on it’s way ;-)!