Spring is a wonderful time to improve your diet and nutrition. As the flowers continue blooming and the season gets into full swing, we can use this transformative period to make positive changes in our health and nix those unhealthy winter habits. Here are three ways to ensure your diet continues to flourish this spring:
Make Small, Incremental Changes
Consistently choosing proper nutrition and a healthy diet is a big commitment, one that should influence your overall lifestyle rather than being a short, snappy decision. As with any new habit, it’s important to make small, incremental changes rather than dramatic ones all at once. Taking a slower, more steady approach to improving your diet and health is much more effective in helping you achieve your health goals. Sudden, dramatic changes will leave you feeling too restricted, making it unlikely to achieve long-term success.
As you make small changes, try setting small goals as well. Achieving small wins throughout your journey to improve your diet will encourage you to keep moving forward and maintain your progress. With small goals, you’re better able to avoid excess stress that would otherwise leave you feeling overwhelmed. Opting for smaller, realistic lifestyle changes puts you in a better position to achieve success without fear of slipping back into old, disheartening habits.
When it comes to improving your diet, remember that real change doesn’t happen overnight. As you transition your health, physically and mentally, your wins will become more consistent and rewarding each day.
[For additional guidance on proper nutrition and diet, schedule an appointment with one of our healthcare professionals.]
Cut Out Added Sugar
Learning to curb your sweet tooth is an important part of your diet, yet typically the hardest to overcome. In fact, the average American consumes fifty-seven pounds of added sugar per year, nearly double the recommended amount. Excess sugar consumption is a major contributor to the high rates of obesity and heart disease in the U.S. While sugar occurs naturally in carbohydrates, the trouble comes when we consume too much added sugar. Added sugar is frequently used by food manufacturers to improve flavor, like high fructose corn syrup, corn sweetener, and brown sugar. A great way to reduce your added sugar consumption? Avoid processed foods. The top three sources of added sugar in the American diet are soft drinks, fruit drinks, and flavored yogurt. If you are craving a dessert, try adding fresh berries with plain, sugar-free yogurt to satisfy your sweet tooth. Another way to avoid added sugar is to replace soda with water, or even flavored water if you want a bit more taste.
Enjoy Home-Cooked Meals
Eating at home has many benefits for both your physical and mental health, and not to mention your wallet. Many restaurant foods are loaded with high amounts of sodium, sugar, and excess calories. Cooking at home makes it much easier to eat healthy, natural foods from local sources, especially in spring as more fresh produce becomes available. From antioxidant-rich blueberries to healthy greens, spring is a great time to take advantage of all the season has to offer. For deals on seasonal herbs and vegetables, visit your local farmer’s market. While the number of meals eaten outside the home has increased greatly, people report that lack of time is the main reason they don’t cook meals at home. To avoid this, try meal prepping multiple meals at once. Not only will this cut down on time in the kitchen throughout the week, but will also give you a better sense of portion control.
Whatever your health goals may be, improving your diet doesn’t have to be complicated. For more information on what maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle looks like for you, contact one of our healthcare professionals today!