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Ways To Spring Clean Your Diet

Eat a fresh diet to slim down, gain energy, and add nutrients to meals.

During the long winter it’s easy to fall into poor eating habits, when fresh, local produce is a distant memory and comfort foods become the norm. Making matters worse, your workouts most likely tapered off. If you’ve emerged from hibernation feeling lethargic and heavy, now is the time to spring-clean your diet. But “spring-cleaning” doesn’t mean restricting yourself to juice cleanses and detox fasts. “It’s about going back to basics with whole,minimally processed foods that will prepare your body for the boost. Freshen up your diet with easy changes that will kick-start your training and improve your health.
Cut Out Sugar
Cleaning up your diet starts with scouring your kitchen for items laced with added sweeteners.  Sweeteners deliver empty calories and encourage overeating, both of which lead to weight gain. Too much of the sweet stuff has been linked to an increase in disease risk, including diabetes. Natural sugars in dairy, vegetables, and fresh or unsweetened dried fruit don’t count as added sugars. But corn syrup, evaporated cane juice, dextrose, and other sugar impersonators in yogurt, cereals, granola bars, and even pasta sauces certainly do. Scan ingredients on packaged foods and choose those with little if any added sweeteners. Replace sugary breakfast cereals, flavored yogurts, and reduced-fat peanut butter (which often swaps fat for sugar) with steel-cut oats, plain yogurt, and natural nut butter.
Go Raw
After a winter full of stews and roasted vegetables, you may be craving fresher-tasting raw foods—and that may help you lose weight.  Bolster your meals and snacks with more raw edibles. Top your (cooked) chicken or fish with a raw vegetable salsa. Replace flour tortillas with lettuce or collard greens. Snack on raw nuts and baby carrots. Top oatmeal and yogurt with berries. Cook pasta al dente and serve it with fresh tomato sauce with raw veggies like broccoli mixed in.

Choose Color

Sweep away the dull winter with spring’s colorful fruits and vegetables. Eating a rainbow of foods is a great way to load up on fiber, vitamins, and other disease-fighting compounds. The pigments that give fruits and vegetables their colors are vital antioxidants. The more colors you eat, the better.  Include three or more colors in each meal and one or two colors in snacks. Scramble eggs with spinach and red bell pepper. Add strawberries and apricots to green salads. Brighten up sandwiches with shredded carrot and arugula. Blend blueberries into smoothies.
Drink Up
Drinking water during the colder months is not always appealing, so fluid intake tends to suffer.  Dehydration can impact your metabolism, leave you sluggish, and can mask itself as hunger. But avoid drinking your calories.  Replace sugary lattes and sodas with green or herbal tea, coconut water, seltzer, and unsweetened iced tea.  And load up on water-rich produce, such as lettuce, celery, and fruits.
Get in the Kitchen
Eating at restaurants drains your wallet—and can add pounds to your waist.  By prepping your own meals you can sidestep calorie bombs, improve portion control, and pack meals and snacks with nutrient-dense whole foods. Create a weekly meal plan so you’re less inclined to eat out. Get excited about cooking again. Try a new recipe from a healthy cookbook or from a favorite cooking Website.

Hope these few tips, give you some ideas to start cleaning up your diet.  Happy Spring!!

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