Four Tips to Spring Clean Your Diet

Father Cutting PeppersEasy ways to start eating healthier – without overhauling your diet.

Spring is the season of new beginnings, so you’re primed for some positive changes in your life. Wait a minute, isn’t that the way you felt back on Jan. 1 when you made the same lofty resolutions?

If you failed to make good on your New Year’s resolutions, hope is not lost and spring is eternal, right? Here are some simple strategies for eating – and feeling – healthier in the weeks and months ahead:

Keep a lid on sugar: Completely eliminating sugar from your diet may take more than a spoonful of discipline. If you’re not yet ready to swear-off sweets altogether, you could reduce sugar consumption in steps. For example, give up one sugar fix, such as soda, as part of your spring health clean-up. According to the American Diabetes Association, soft drink consumption is linked to Type 2 diabetes. The ADA recommends limiting sugar-sweetened drinks to help prevent the disease. Giving up soda altogether might be the impetus for you to cut back on other sweet treats, too.

Multiply the veggies: There are quick and easy ways to start eating healthier. It can be as simple as adding an extra serving of veggies to your meals daily. For example, mix chopped peppers, mushrooms, onions or broccoli into your scrambled eggs. Add vegetables to your tomato sauce when having pasta. Choose whole wheat pasta. Perk up your red sauce with chopped green veggies such as zucchini, celery or spinach. In addition, you could add a glass of low-sodium vegetable juice to your daily diet.

Be cautious with dairy products: Whole milk and full-fat cheeses may be staples of your diet because of the calcium benefits. However, health experts warn that fat content is a liability in otherwise wholesome dairy foods. According to the American Heart Association, low-fat versions of milk, cheese and yogurt are the way to go. By choosing healthier dairy products this spring, you’ll cut calories yet still get calcium, as well as magnesium, potassium and Vitamin D.

Re-create your family’s favorite recipes: The family’s favorite meals don’t always score high on the health meter. But how can you cook meals that are high in nutrition when you’re short on time? Consider some workarounds for dishes that are in-demand at home. For example, substitute ground turkey for ground beef, whole-wheat flour for white flour, and herb seasonings instead of salt. The Mayo Clinic has an online guide on how to substitute everyday ingredients for healthier options.

What healthy-eating tips would you add to our list? Share your healthful habits with us in the “Comments” below.

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