Say goodbye to winter comfort foods and welcome spring with a fresh new take on food. Here’s how
Say goodbye to bad winter habits
With winter overstaying its welcome this year, it’s likely rich soups, stews, pastas and feel-good desserts have become home menu staples. “We tend to hibernate and sometimes stock up on processed foods to comfort ourselves from the cold,” says Gina Sunderland, a Winnipeg-based registered dietitian.
Forget cleaning out closets and scrubbing floors to welcome spring. Instead, start by cleaning up your eating habits. Here’s a seven-step plan to get you started.
Revisit your portions
“Get control of your calories to help manage the extra winter weight you might have put on,” suggests Sunderland. Doing so helps counteract that mindless munching habit you may have slipped into over the chilly months. So put portion control back in play.
Clean out your cupboards and fridge
As Natalie Brown, a White Rock, BC.-based registered dietitian suggests, go through and toss any expired and processed foods to organize your fridge and cupboards for healthier eating. Think about the rule of five, adds Sunderland. “Check the labels on items in your pantry—cookies, crackers and chips and so forth. If there are more than five grams of fat on the label, it’s a good package to toss,” she says. After tossing heavy sauces, dips and snacks, replace them with bowls of fruit, pre-cut veggies, plain yogurt for smoothies and dips and lighter salad dressings.
Slash your salt and sugar
“White sugar is an instant hit to your body and is linked to diabetes, inflammation, decreased immune response, liver fatigue and some cancers,” notes Brown. “And cutting back on your salt lowers the risk of heart disease, since salt stiffens the arteries and makes them rigid.”
“Probiotics help with digestive health, so add in yogurt or a yogurt drink daily,” suggests Brown. It can also help if you’ve been fighting colds and flus throughout the winter. “Many of us have had some antibiotics because we’ve been sick, so adding a probiotic helps rebalance the gut-friendly bacteria,” says Sunderland. Also skip the supplements and opt to get your probiotics from food sources if you can. “Research shows that getting probiotics from food is better used by the body,” Sunderland adds.
Switch up your produce
Tired of apples, bananas and root vegetables? “There are some nice spring produce choices coming out,” says Sunderland. “Some things we see are asparagus, fiddleheads, mushrooms and berries.” Other brightly-coloured produce making more of an appearance at our grocery stores or farmer’s markets include apricots, green beans, broccoli and more.