How To Spring Clean Your Diet In 7 Simple Steps, According To Dietitians
Spring is officially here! It’s the perfect time to not only spruce up your home but to rethink your eating habits as well.
If your healthy eating goals have fallen by the wayside since the Holidays, don’t worry, it’s not too late to start afresh. Here are seven dietitian-approved strategies to clean up your diet:
- Say goodbye to foods that aren’t serving you. This includes items that have stayed past their welcome—think foods that expired a year ago, nearly-empty condiments and stuff you never use. “Once you’ve cleared out all the extras from your fridge and pantry, restock strategically. Keep items like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, seafood and your favorite unsweetened beverages front and center,” suggests Jaclyn London, registered dietitian and head of Nutrition & Wellness at WW. Also, if you have time to pre-prep ingredients for your meals, do it. Because the truth is, you’re more likely to choose healthful bites if they’re convenient and in your sightline, says the nutrition expert.
- Steer clear of detoxes or cleanses. Despite their massive popularity, there’s little to no scientific evidence that juicing and detox diets actually work. “Juice cleanses and detoxes are completely unnecessary as your organs are more than capable of cleansing and detoxing your body on their own,” says Jamie Nadeau, a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Rhode Island. “While detox diets may promote eating unprocessed food choices, they don’t necessarily make you healthier and oftentimes can lead to more trouble managing your weight and relationship to food,” tells Lauren Hubert, registered dietitian and host of The Sorority Nutritionist Podcast. Similarly, juicing doesn’t cleanse your body. Instead, it can often make you super hungry because you aren’t eating enough calories or fiber (which helps you feel full longer), explains Hubert. The most effective way to help your body function best is by fueling it well with nutrient-dense foods and hydration and moving more, more often, says Nadeau.
- More veggies, more fruit, more often. These foods are loaded with vitamins and minerals we all need, plus fiber. And they are high in water-volume—meaning, they also help you meet your fluid needs, says London. One helpful way to include more vegetables in your diet is prioritizing dishes that have veggies mixed in—think stir-fries, soup, chili, casseroles and sauce-based dishes that you can add vegetables into. This can sometimes feel less daunting than feeling like you always need a ‘side’ vegetable, tells Nadeau. Moreover, you can pair these dishes with a source of protein like part-skim cheese, nut butter, hummus, a hard-boiled egg or two to stay satisfied and energized longer, suggests London.
- Look at the labels. There is a varying degree of processing food products have. That’s why it’s important to read the nutrition facts labels carefully and understand what are healthy versus not as healthy food items, says Hubert. For instance, plain Greek yogurt in a single-serving container or frozen veggies that are ready-to-cook are technically processed foods but that doesn’t mean they are bad for you, tells the dietitian. “It’s the heavily processed foods with added sugars, refined grains and additives (think frozen pizzas and desserts) that can impact your weight and gut health over time,” she adds.
- Eat more mindfully. Mindful eating is about being present in the eating experience in a non-judgmental way and using your body’s hunger and satiety cues to determine when to stop eating, explains Hubert. “This often means limiting distractions when you’re eating, slowing down when eating and really paying attention to how the food tastes, how full or hungry you are and how it makes you feel,” adds Nadeau. One simple way to get started is to eat consistently. “The trope holds—’the only thing to restrict is restriction’—aka, going for long periods without meals, which is a recipe that primes you to overdo it later on,” says London. Consistency also helps you stay mindful of your body’s hunger and satiety cues, so you’ll be less inclined to immediately opt-in on a second serving and take a beat to notice if there’s something else you need instead, adds the healthy eating guru. Here are a few more tips to help you eat mindfully.
- Focus on what you can add to your diet vs what you can cut out. “In traditional ‘dieting’, the focus is often on cutting foods out which always leaves you feeling deprived at some point or another,” says Nadeau. So instead of completely cutting out the less nourishing foods that you like from your diet try to limit their intake by prioritizing healthier food options. A simple way to do that is to start your grocery shopping in the produce and meat section so you can buy your staples for meals from there before going to any other aisles to buy packaged foods, suggests Hubert.
- Cook more at home. Don’t get me wrong, takeouts are great—they are delish and convenient. But they tend to be higher in calories and with larger portion sizes—leading to overconsumption of calories that you may not even realize, notes Hubert. This is why the diet expert recommends making home-cooked meals the foundation of your diet and considering takeouts as special indulgences. Here are some healthy, no-cook recipes that are perfect for busy nights.
And lastly, be consistent. But don’t beat yourself up if you slip up and fall back into old eating habits. As long as you don’t give up trying, you’ll never fail.
Published at Sat, 27 Mar 2021 01:58:46 +0000