It’s that time of year again to open up the windows and give the house a good scrub-down. This is also a perfect opportunity to clean out the cupboards and fridge and fill them with better choices for a healthier you this Spring! Here are a few good places to start with your cleaning:
- Throw out the vegetable oil! A fellow dietitian of mine stated that vegetable oil should be renamed “inflammation oil”. Contrary to its name, there are no actual vegetables in this popular oil. It contains a high amount of omega-6 fatty acids, and when these occur in abundance in our diets, it can cause inflammation in the body. Vegetable oil is one of the main oils used in processed foods. Opt for olive oil with marinades and dressings and coconut oil for high temperature cooking.
- Rid your fridge of low-fat and fat-free salad dressings and replace them with healthy vinaigrettes.
- Canned vegetables may be economical since they have a long shelf-life, but many of the vegetables’ nutrients are lost in the canning process plus they now are packed with sodium. Clean your fridge and make room for high-nutritious, low-calorie vegetables such as: spinach, red bell peppers, asparagus, broccoli, zucchini and carrots.
- Replace sugar-sweetened cereals with natural oats. You can dress up plain oatmeal by adding puree pumpkin and cinnamon, berries, peanut butter or apples and chopped nuts.
- Purge those cabinets of pop-tarts, sugary granola bars and Little Debbie snacks and stock up on a variety of healthy snack options such as nuts, yogurt, raw veggies dipped in humus, hard-boiled eggs and fresh fruit.
- Make sure you have small water bottles that can be packed for lunches instead of Capri Suns, Juicy Juice boxes or soda.
- Swap flavored yogurt for plain Greek yogurt. Plain Greek yogurt contains less lactose, more protein and is not loaded with added sugars like the flavored varieties are.
- Ready to take on a health challenge? Throw out your pasta noodles and begin purchasing spaghetti squash. Once cooked, the squash can be scooped out into perfect spaghetti threads. If you have a food spiralizer on hand, you can do the same with butternut squash and especially a great summer vegetable choice like zucchini!
- Spring kicks off the start of many seasonal fruits and vegetables. During the spring and summer, produce tends to be cheaper and tastes better since its now in season. Be sure to head to your nearby Farmers Market to enjoy local seasonal produce!