Spring has finally sprung. The trees are budding, the flowers are blooming, and sunshine lingers a few more minutes every day. It’s time to shed our winter coats. Spring is a time of renewal, what better time to feel a sense of revitalization than to do a little spring cleaning. Let’s start by cleaning up old habits. Still have those bottles of soda covering the floor of your car? What about the boxes of cookies and bags of chips collecting dust in the pantry? Don’t forget about the frozen hamburgers and hot dogs suffering from freezer burn. Ask yourself, are the foods in my house sources of high calories, high fat, and/or high sugar? If the answer is yes, then it’s time to let go. Now I know what you’re thinking, “but Twinkies never go bad, they could survive the apocalypse. If the end of the world happens I might need them one day.” Keeping unhealthy convenience foods and beverages around gives us the opportunity to one day give in to temptations and make poor food choices. Making positive changes to one’s diet is important to maintaining a healthy weight and reducing your risk of chronic diseases. Following healthy eating habits includes maintaining good hydration and consuming nutrient dense foods, or foods that are relatively low calorie and packed with vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
In with the new, out with the old — use these FRESH tips to keep you on track:
- Find – Locate and consolidate all unhealthy foods.
- Remove – Check expiration dates, and if it’s past the expiration date, then it’s time to trash it.
- Exchange – Move remaining foods with expiration dates coming up sooner to the front while you move newer/fresher foods to the back. (first in, first out)
- Stock – Fill your space with a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, foods high in unsaturated fats, complex carbohydrates, and vitamins and mineral supplements.
- Help – Donate any unopened, unexpired foods to food banks, churches, etc.
Set your environment up for success! Not only are these healthy eating habits going to make you look, feel, and perform better, but chances are your healthy eating habits will lead others to question your newfound nutrition choices. Something as simple as removing junk food can provide an opportunity to be a role model and inspire your friends and family to make healthy choices of their own. Remember all flowers and trees start as seeds. Plant the seed today and watch the positivity grow.
So this spring, let’s opt for cleaner pantries, a cleaner diet, and cleaner living.
Infused Water: The Squeeze
Did you know the average North American wastes between 209-254 lbs (95-115kg) of food per year according the Food and Agriculture Organization? Of these foods fruits and vegetables produce the highest percentage of waste at 45%. Not only are these plants filling our landfills, but wasting produce is like throwing away good money.
Have you ever cut up a carrot or cucumber and discarded the perfectly nutritious but less than desirable to eat ends? What about when you get strawberries or blueberries that are just a bit too mushy? Let’s not forget about bruised fruits that are no different in flavor than their flawless counterparts. A simple trick is to use some of those less than desirable pieces you wouldn’t eat but still possess perfectly good nutrients and flavor, and turn them into flavored water for some extra vitamins and minerals! Get creative with it by adding a variety of colorful fruits and herbs for a unique, tasty, and refreshing blend.
Cut up fruits, vegetables, and herbs and allow to sit in water for several hours for optimal infused flavor. Keep refrigerated and discard after 2-3 days.
- Cucumber + Kiwi + Strawberry
- Lemon + Lime + Orange
- Blueberry + Orange + Basil
- Watermelon + Mint
- Raspberry + Lemon + Mint
- Raspberry + Orange
- Pineapple + Mint + Ginger
- Tomato + Basil
- Tomato + Celery + Bell Pepper
- Apple + Cinnamon
- Carrots + Apple + Lemon + Ginger
- 6 cups romaine heart lettuce, chopped
- 1 ripe avocado, diced
- 1 lb chicken breast, boneless, skinless, cooked, cubed
- 2 vine-ripe tomatoes, chopped
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
Take advantage of fresh produce this spring. Place lettuce on a salad plate and top with remaining ingredients. Top with favorite light salad dressing. Makes 6 servings.
Feel free to make healthy, smart substitutions such as kale instead of romaine, ham instead of chicken. Or add some colorful fruits such as blueberries or strawberries and/or nuts such as walnuts or cashews.
Nutrition Information per Serving:
- 211 calories
- 28 grams protein
- 9 grams fat
- 6 grams carbohydrate
- 96 mg sodium