With spring right around the corner, we all feel this sense of new beginnings and a time for a change. We have been stuck inside during the cold Canadian winter and the extended quarantine, and we are looking forward to all the possibilities that this season brings, including changes to our diet. Eating a well-balanced diet is always important, especially as we age. And if you are a family caregiver, then eating a healthy diet will help keep your energy levels high. Here are a few tips for giving your diet a good spring cleaning.
If you go through your cupboards, you’ll probably notice a lot of items have added sugars or sweeteners in them. These additives are empty calories and can actually encourage overeating, leading to you gaining unwanted weight. Now the sugars found in fruits, dairy and vegetables do not count in this category as they are natural. You should avoid things like corn syrup, dextrose and evaporated cane juice.
During winter, with the cold weather, we often turn to comfort foods like stews and chilis – which can definitely be healthy for your body. Now, though, you might find that you are craving the crunch of fresh summer salads and raw vegetables. There has been some evidence to suggest that eating vegetables cooked may add extra calories, so eating vegetables raw may be the best way to help you lose weight. Additionally, you will have to chew raw food more, which can send signals of fullness to your brain quicker than eating cooked food.
Keep it Colourful
Spring brings with it an abundance of colourful produce, and you should eat as many colourful fruits and vegetables as you can. Eating a rainbow variety of fruits and vegetables ensures you get the fibre and vitamins you need to stay healthy. If you can, it is recommended to eat two or three different colours of vegetables with your meals and one or two with each snack you eat.
When it’s cold, drinking a lot of water does not seem super appealing. As the weather turns warm, you will likely find it easier to keep adequately hydrated. When you are dehydrated, your metabolism can suffer and sometimes, thirst will seem like hunger, which also can lead you to overeat. Water is great, and proper hydration has the added benefit of helping clear up your skin. Additionally, you can try to add lots of water-rich vegetables like celery and lettuce to your diet.
Use Your Kitchen
Dining out is really convenient – especially if you’re working a full-time job and you are caring for a loved one at home. Eating out a lot, though, can drain your wallet very quickly and add pounds quickly to your waistline. Additionally, many restaurant foods are cooked with oils and other additives that can leave you feeling sluggish and bloated. By cooking your own meals at home, you can save a lot of money and even more calories. You will also know exactly what is going into your meals, and you can make sure you are getting the nutrition you need.
Spring cleaning your diet does not mean you have to completely restrict yourself to juice cleanses or detoxes as that may cause more harm than good. If you can take steps to get yourself back to the basics, eating minimally processed whole foods, your body will feel much better in no time, and you will be ready to face spring with a fresh outlook.