Spring Into Clean Eating & Better Health: 4 Easy Ways to Refresh & Declutter Your Diet by Susan Bowerman, M.S., R.D., CSSD, CSOWM, FAND
This spring, besides decluttering your home, why not declutter your diet? We’ve all heard the phrase “clean eating” or eating minimally processed foods and getting rid of the excess “clutter” in the form of added fats, sugars, salt and unnecessary additives. But for some, creating a daily diet made up of only these foods can be intimidating, especially when looking to put a healthy meal on the table at the end of a busy day.
Fortunately, eating clean doesn’t have to be daunting. There are plenty of packaged nutritious, wholesome foods like frozen loose pack vegetables and fruits, canned tuna, salmon or beans and whole grains like brown rice or whole grain pasta that can simplify preparing meals.
Here are four ways to help you successfully spring clean your diet:
- Read food labels to help you ditch extra sugar, salt and fat. Check labels for fat, sodium and sugar content, and compare brands to find those with the least amounts. For example, choose plain yogurt and whole grain cereals rather than pre-sweetened and refined products, and look for unsalted or low sodium canned and frozen veggies.
- Lose the refined starches and up your fruit and veggie intake. Including a fruit or vegetable at every meal can “squeeze out” many of the unwanted foods and ingredients you might otherwise eat. Swap sugary, fatty ice cream for a bowl of berries, or try snacking on baby carrots and hummus instead of chips.
- Get rid of the calorie clutter in your beverages. Between sugary sodas, fruit juices, alcoholic beverages and fancy coffee drinks, many people take in hundreds of calories a day from beverages alone. Plain tea is a great alternative because it can be consumed hot or cold, has virtually no calories and has natural compounds that may offer some health benefits.
- Clear the clutter from your fridge, freezer and pantry. Fill your pantry with high-fiber whole grains (like 100 percent whole wheat pasta, bread, cereals and flour, and foods like quinoa, millet and brown rice). Buy beans and canned tomatoes for soups, stews and pasta. Stock your refrigerator and freezer with plain fruits and veggies and nonfat or low-fat dairy products. And keep canned tuna or salmon, frozen fish filets or chicken breasts to add protein to your quick, healthy meals.
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