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Spring clean your diet

Riddle Hospital May 5, 2015 Wellness Articles

woman eating healthy meal in kitchenLately, it seems like everyone is trying something new. From detox diets and juicing to going raw and cutting out sugar, it can feel like the only way to do something good for your health is to make a drastic change.

Fortunately, that’s not the case. Now that spring has arrived and summer is on the horizon, Lynn Nichols, outpatient dietitian at Riddle Hospital, says that all it takes is a few changes to do a little ‘spring cleaning’ to your diet. Below, she offers her tips for success.

Focus on seasonal staples

Although it’s hard to go wrong choosing fruits and veggies, you’ll get the best flavor choosing items that are in season. For the freshest and best-tasting produce this summer, stock up on zucchini, eggplant, summer squash, lima beans, tomatoes, berries, melons and green beans. Not only will your produce taste fresher when it’s in season, chances are it’ll cost you less, too.

The list of produce in its prime during summer is long, and ranges from Asian pears and figs to lychee and Persian melons. For a full list of seasonal produce during the summer months, visit the Fruits & Veggies: More Matters website.

Drink more water

Between soda, coffee, juicing trends and sports drinks, it’s easy for no-frills water to get lost in the mix.

“Water is one of the most important ingredients for a healthy lifestyle. Not only does it help you stay hydrated, unlike soda or coffee, but it flushes out toxins in the body,” explains Nichols.

Not only will it help you stay hydrated and help keep your body toxin-free, water also helps you stay alert, control your appetite, and increase your metabolism. Next time you feel yourself feeling thirsty or sluggish, reach for a glass of water.

Clean out the cupboard

Let spring cleaning spill into the kitchen this year. Give your refrigerator and pantry a thorough once-over to discard any expired cans or foods. Although many canned ingredients and herbs or spices last for a long period of time, they can be easy to forget about.

Try planning ahead

There’s a reason so many of us find it so easy to turn to the drive-through or the closest restaurant for dinner—it’s easy! Although there’s nothing wrong with dining out, hidden calories and hidden ingredients in restaurants meals can add up quickly and contribute to weight gain, a risk factor for some serious health issues.

Try planning ahead this spring by preparing a list of meals for the week ahead. Include exactly what you’ll need for the recipe, and side dishes, too. By planning ahead, you’ll have a plan in place and be less inclined to eat out or call for takeout.

“Take this opportunity to get excited about cooking again. Buy yourself a new cookbook or enroll in a cooking class,” says Nichols. “Being passionate about cooking and being active in the kitchen can make you more excited about making healthier choices.”

Main Line Health offers nutrition experts that are registered, licensed dietitians. As members of the American Dietetic Association, they keep up to date on the latest nutrition research that may have an impact on your health and well-being, and can offer an individual nutrition plan to fit your lifestyle. Learn more about Main Line Health's nutrition services on our website.