Spring Cleaning (your diet)

The calendar says spring has sprung, though it may not feel like it outside! Spring: the perfect time to get rid of the old junk hanging around and make room for new improvements. Spring cleaning doesn’t just have to be done around the house! Take this opportunity to focus efforts on reducing those not-so-good-for-you foods that have been hanging around the pantry as well. Check out these quick and easy ways to clean up your family’s diet.
Veggies and Hummus
Top five ways you can clean up your diet this spring:

1) Re-portion the plate

Large plates have been deemed the reason for overconsumption, in that, larger plates mean larger portions. This portion distortion can be nipped in the bud, however, by using a simple trick. Decrease the size of your plate, and you will consume fewer calories per meal. Research has shown that the larger the container, the more you will eat, even if you would be satisfied with less. Try swapping your usual large dinner plates, and use salad plates at family meals as an alternative. Always try to make meals fit the Choosemyplate guidelines and choose 50% vegetables and fruits, 25% lean protein, 25% whole grains.

2) Spice it up!

Cumin, cinnamon, ginger, garlic – just a few spices that can change a dish from drab to fab! Check out the spice aisle at your next trip to the grocery store, and grab a spice you don’t typically use. Check out one of the many free online recipe databases for a new recipe using your spice! Not just used for flavoring, many spices have excellent benefits as well. For example, animal studies have found that cumin may help lower blood glucose levels, in addition to antibacterial properties in the gut.

3) Super-size your Superfoods

In Superfoods Part 1 and Part 2, certain foods were highlighted for their excellent properties including disease prevention, reducing inflammation, and even decreasing hunger. Let these foods be prominent items in your pantry, refrigerator, and table top. Rather than keeping snacks such as crackers or cookies on the counter for display and easy reach, consider displaying a fruit tower instead. Load up a beautiful display of fruits and vegetables to remind your family to consume these foods regularly.

4) Change up your Vegetables

Sick of the same old carrots and broccoli? Revamp your vegetable choices and include alternative items such as kale, Brussels sprouts, jicama, rapini, or beets. Vary the colors on your plate to ensure the best nutrient intake. Kids not into vegetables, you say? Start small, offer a few pieces at a time, and mix it into the previously accepted foods for better tolerance. Most importantly, don’t give up!

5) Reduce the Rubbish

Halloween, Christmas, Easter, birthday parties: what do they all have in common? Candy! Unfortunately, it is pretty common after the holiday ends, the treats remain. Rarely are extra treats donated or tossed, but rather, are stored in the pantry “for a special occasion.” As mentioned this past Halloween, institute a one-piece-per-day rule for a week, and then toss/donate the remainder. The best way to decrease consumption of bad-for-you foods: outta sight, outta mind! Only keep foods that you want your family to consume on a regular basis. Save treats for special occasions outside of the house. Keep a variety of whole grains, low-fat dairy, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins to ensure healthy habits in the home.

Want additional tips on how to do a spring diet clean-up in your own home? Contact FEED today to schedule a Pantry Makeover or Grocery Store Tour!

Lara Field MS, RD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian and Specialist in Pediatrics with over a decade of clinical and client experience. When she’s not actively working to keep her clients healthy, she’s a busy mother of two active boys and loves testing new recipes in her kitchen. Follow her on Instagram to see her recipe ideas, product suggestions, and see how she manages a healthy lifestyle @larafield.