Tips to help you replace some of your winter indulgences...
Here are a few habits I think will help you “Spring Clean” your diet!
1. Cut down on your alcohol consumption.
Although there are many studies that show a moderate amount of alcoholic drinks are acceptable and can yield some health related benefits (1/day for women, 2/day for men).
There are some good reasons to make sure your consumption stays moderate. Just because something CAN be good for you, doesn’t mean you “HAVE” to do it. Alcohol is calorie dense, a natural diuretic, and is hard on your liver which helps your body “detoxify”. Cutting back on alcoholic drinks to once or twice a week will help rev up your metabolism and cut empty calories.
2. Stop Feeding on the Fad Food Labeling.
Light, Fat Free, No Sugar Added, Lightly Sweetened…Many of these catch phrases don’t mean they are necessarily low calorie or healthy options. Check the nutrition label for the real story. Often times foods labeled this way have hidden calories in other macronutrient categories.
3. Cut down on sugar.
You wouldn’t believe how often working with client’s, I will help them find “hidden sugars” in what they thought was a healthy diet. Most Americans consume almost 500 calories of added sugars every day. That’s 30+ teaspoons of sugar!!
Ingredient lists are often confusing consumers by putting “organic looking” names as alternatives to simple ingredients like SUGAR.
Evaporated cane juice = SUGAR.
Rapadura = SUGAR.
Malt syrup = SUGAR.
Date sugar = SUGAR.
Sorghum syrup = SUGAR.
Beet crystal extract = SUGAR
Organic whole cane crystals = SUGAR.
Evaporated guava juice = SUGAR
Read the label and buy nutrient dense alternatives like apples and other fruits as alternatives to sugary packaged foods.
4. Cut the Salt.
On average Americans eat more than 3,300 milligrams of sodium per day. About 1,000 mg more than we should. Added salt can be attributed to weight gain, high blood pressure and heart disease according to the New England Journal of Medicine.
Packaged convenience foods and processed foods are heavily laden with sodium to aid in the preservation process.
Buying more fresh foods and cooking them ourselves can help cut out a significant amount of sodium from our diets.
5. Limit the processed foods.
Cutting down on processed foods is probably one of the single biggest ways to spring clean your diet. While you may be worried that it will cut out too much of your “go to” foods…don’t worry about minimally processed ones like unsweetened greek yogurts and frozen bagged veggies.
Cutting back on the prepared and portioned micro meals, bagged snacks and those with paragraph longer than your Christmas card list will yield big rewards in regards to boosting the quality of the food you consume. These foods are often loaded with the Salt and Sugars we talked about before. These ingredients are added to processed foods to boost taste. Often these foods are very nutrient sparse and calorie dense.
Removing these foods from your pantry and refrigerator will open up room for healthier options like veggies, fruits and whole grains.