There is nothing more therapeutic than a good spring clean after being holed up after the long winter months. Flinging open the doors and windows, dusting the surfaces and cleaning out the cupboards can feel wonderful, setting your environment up for a healthy, clean summer.
The same can also be done for your diet. Spring cleaning your diet is a great way to create a healthy food environment and reset and reboot some healthy food habits as we start to peel off layers, get outdoors and get ready for a new season.
Start With The Kitchen
Spring cleaning your diet starts with your environment: the kitchen. What you eat will be determined by what food you have available to you, so if the cupboards are packed with junk, making healthy foods choices is going to be a challenge.
Go through and do an audit of the kitchen. Empty out the fridge, freezer and cupboards and give them a really good clean out. Throw away any foods that are out of date, are covered in ice crystals, are unidentifiable, or are foods you know are unhealthy. You might also want to get rid of trigger foods or foods you have the tendency to overdo.
Foods to clear out:
- Sugary breakfast cereals
- Sweetened yoghurt
- Processed snack foods
- White breads and baked goods
- Frozen meals
Restock With Healthy Foods
Make a shopping list of healthy foods you want to restock your kitchen with and get shopping.
Foods that should be filling your kitchen include:
- Wholegrains like quinoa, brown rice, grainy bread, buckwheat noodles and traditional oats
- Lentils and legumes like chickpeas, red kidney beans and black beans
- Unsalted nuts and seeds
- Fruit and veggies – use a combination of fresh, frozen and tinned
- Healthy fats – fresh, frozen or tinned fish (salmon, sardines, trout and tuna), olive oil, tahini, nut spreads and ground flaxseed
- Plain yoghurt
- Filtered water, mineral water
- Herbal teas
- Dried and fresh herbs and spices
Fruit And Veggies Made Easier
If you find it difficult to get to the grocery store or farmers markets for your fruit or veg, you can order fresh fruit and veg boxes online that are inexpensive and are delivered to your front door. If you have the fresh fruit and veg available but find it hard to include in your diet, try keeping a big fruit bowl right in the middle of your kitchen so it’s in plain sight and easy to grab. For veggies, keep in the fridge at eye level punnets of cherry tomatoes, a bag of carrots and a container of chopped celery, capsicum, fennel, cucumber and any other veggies you like to munch on raw. It’s also then easier to throw on a plate, into a salad or a smoothie.
Keep Your Favourite Appliances Within Easy Reach
Whether it’s a blender, steamer, rice cooker or a food processor, keep appliances that encourage you to make healthy meals or snacks on the kitchen bench or in easy reach so they are close at hand and easy to use. Try washing them straight after using them so they’re ready to go for next time you want to use them.
Use Clear Or Glass Containers To Store Food
By taking your healthy foods our of their bags or boxes and putting them in containers you can see, they not only look colourful and appealing, but they are likely to keep for longer and wont get lost in the crowd and you’ll be more likely to use them.
Stock Quick Protein Foods
It’s common for tired and busy people to come home late from work and throw on a pot of pasta because it’s quick and easy. If you want a quick, nutritious dinner on the lighter side through the warmer months, keeping some easy protein foods readily available can help. Great options are eggs, tinned legumes and lentils, packaged organic tofu and tinned fish.
If you’ve gotten into some unhealthy habits through winter, think about swapping them out for some healthier options.
A few examples include:
- Fruit juice or soft drink - swap with a power-packed nutritious drink like Eat Fit Food’s Greens Superfood powder in a big glass of chilled filtered water.
- Milky coffees or hot chocolate – swap with green tea
- 3pm chocolate hit – swap with a handful of trail mix (including nuts, seeds and unsweetened carob pieces)
- Flavoured yoghurt – swap with plain Greek yoghurt and some berries, cinnamon, half a grated apple or a sprinkle of muesli
Image credit: Drew Dunlop for The Urban List