Spring is here. A time for new beginnings, where many individuals try to improve their nutrition by eating better. This can be a daunting and overwhelming task, but with some organization and planning you can achieve your new goals. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Spring cleaning: It’s not just for your closets! Kitchen pantries, refrigerators and freezers need to be cleaned out to start fresh.
- Toss all expired, stale or used products no one will eat.
- Donate unopened non-perishable and packaged foods that are still good, but no one will eat, to local shelters.
- Check your canned goods. Any dented or bumped out cans should be tossed because they can contain harmful bacteria.
- In the refrigerator, look for spoilage or mold on fruits, vegetables, in jars of condiments and sauces.
- Wipe down all shelves and drawers with an appropriate cleaner.
Now you can begin planning for healthier eating:
Make a menu: Look at yours and your family’s schedule for the week. Write out ideas for school or work lunches and dinners each day. Aim for simpler meals during busier days or when everyone has different schedules. Try something new on days where you have more time. Get the entire family involved in the process. Children should learn these good habits from a young age. Further, it takes some responsibility off the parent.
Make a list: Go through your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. Make a list of missing staplesyou like to have on hand and all other items you need to have for your planned meals.
Meal Prep: Several foods can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator to be used at your convenience.
- Most vegetables (such as lettuce, peppers, carrots, kale, broccoli, cauliflower etc…) can be washed, dried, cut-up and stored in the refrigerator.
- Whole grains (quinoa, barley, farro, wheatgerm, brown rice, whole wheat couscous etc…) can be prepared and stored in the fridge.
- Lean proteins (grilled chicken breast, salmon or trout fillets, tofu cubes, tuna, bean salad etc…) can be cooked ahead of time. Tip: mix tuna with hummus or guacamole instead of mayonnaise for a healthier option.
It is never too late to decide to live a healthier lifestyle, it may take time to develop these new habits, however once you have acquired these new healthy eating habits, it will become easier to incorporate many aspects of wellness into you daily life.