Spring often marks a time for change and a time to shake off any dietary habits or routines picked up over winter, which no longer serve health! If you are ready to get back to feeling your healthy self, here are 5 tips to help freshen up your diet this spring.
Spring clean your fridge and pantry
When convenience foods and alike are in sight its all too easy to be tempted. To truly commit to change spend some time doing a clean of your fridge and pantry and remove foods, which no longer make you feel good. Once such foods are removed, make a list of foods, which do make you feel good and fill your fridge/pantry with such foods. After all, being prepared with healthy alternatives is a necessary step towards achieving your health and fitness goals
Start your day with a serve of vegetables
During winter, vegetables are often replaced for dense and comforting foods. This is no wonder, come spring, we often crave vegetables and lighter meals. Starting your day with a serve of vegetables is one of the easiest ways to increase your vegetable intake, some ideas include:
- Adding leafy greens to your smoothie
- Enjoying a vegetable and fruit juice
- Having a mushroom and spinach omelette
- Top avocado on toast with a tomato and herb salsa and rocket leaves
- Make up breakfast bowl using left-over cooked grains, sautéed greens, salmon/eggs/feta and avocado
Plant-based eating means increasing intake of fruit, vegetables and legumes such as beans and lentils. The evidence supporting the benefits of plant-based eating is continuing to increase. Specifically, new research looking at the dietary habits of 18 countries recently found a moderate intake of plant-based foods may lower a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease and death. Some simple ways to increase plant-based foods in your diet include:
- Adopt meat free Monday in your household
- Replace your sandwich with a salad containing legumes
- Spread toast with hummus in replace of margarine
- Make a bolognese sauce using roasted vegetables and lentils
- Swap meat for falafel and salad in wraps
- Try my Thai pasta salad with spicy cashew dressing (recipe below)
Make snacks count
During the cooler months our choice of snacks can become refined sugar and fat heavy in the search for warmth. This season, focus on using snacks as a way to regulate appetite and count towards nutrition. Including a source of protein in snacks is key to making sure appetite remains stable and we not starving come mealtime. Some quick snack options include:
- Natural yoghurt, seasonable fruit and hemp/chia seeds
- Homemade seed crackers with almond butter
- Chia pudding with berries and raw nuts
- Cottage cheese with a sprinkle of cinnamon and apple slices
- A slice of sprouted bread with tahini, tomato and sprouts
- Homemade slice using nuts, seeds and whole rolled oats or quinoa flakes
Eat in Season
Many of us fall into autopilot and buy the same groceries week in week out and wonder why our diet seems ‘boring.’ To get out of your usual routine, start shopping in season. Eating in season is not only a great way to diversify the diet and improve nutrition but it can also be a way to save money. Visit the markets and get a feel for what’s in season and start planning meals around such foods. When it comes to other groceries such as diary, nuts/seeds, grains and meats, try rotating your choice of such foods on a weekly basis. A good tip is visiting bulk/scoop food stores to purchase nuts/seeds and grains as you can select what quantity to purchase.
Thai Pasta Salad with Spicy Cashew Dressing
Pre: 5 minutes
Cooking: 20 minutes
250g wholemeal spaghetti
1 cup carrot, julienned
¼ cup fresh coriander, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh mint, finely chopped
¼ cup raw cashews
1 tbsp. EV olive oil
1 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. tamari soy sauce
1 tbsp. honey
1 lime, juiced
3 red chillies, julienned
½ bunch asparagus, blanched and cut through the middle
Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add the pasta and cook it for 10-15 minutes, al dente. Leave to cool to room temperature.
In a blender, thoroughly combine cashews, olive oil, fish sauce, soy sauce, honey, lime juice and enough water to make a runny consistency.
In a large mixing bowl add all of the remaining ingredients, apart from the asparagus but including the pasta and gently combine. Mix through the cashew dressing.
Serve in a large decorative platted with asparagus on top.
European Society of Cardiology. “Reassessing the benefits of plant-based eating.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 August 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170829091009.htm>.