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Health Tips

Tweaking your diet for spring; feeling lighter from within without eating less

By 29/08/2016 No Comments

Spring is just around the corner and for many of us, this means moving away from heavy hearty meals to lighter, refreshing dishes. This doesn’t mean depriving your body of food and nutrients, especially if you have over indulged this winter. If seeking to put a spring in your step, the best place to start is by making a few simple swaps to your diet to help feel lighter from within. Here are a few suggestions to help your body embrace the change in season.

 Tune In

It has been three long months of winter so our body has likely adapted to the cool weather and craved warming foods. Our routine has been set, we are used to eating in this way to feel warmth and comfort. Now that our environment is changing we may want to break habit and shake up our routine. For some this is a lot easier said than done! If you struggle with change, my number one tip is start just by tuning in. Tune into what your body is feeling like and what it needs now that the cooler months are behind us. Don’t flip your life upside down; make simple changes based on your individual needs.

Eat in Season

Since winter began, we may be stuck on autopilot picking up root vegetables and starchy fruits week in week out. However, as the season changes so too does our selection of fruits and vegetables! The body benefits when we eat in season and when we increase diet diversity. Start looking at shifting your produce selection towards lighter and more hydrating fruits and vegetables, a small taste of what’s in season includes:

Spring fruits: banana, blood orange, grapefruit, honeydew, mandarin, papaya, pineapple, strawberry and watermelon.

Spring vegetables: asparagus, avocado, beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, leek, snow peas, sugar snap peas and spinach.

Adapt Meals

Just because your freezer is stocked sky high with soups and casseroles doesn’t mean all that hard labour needs to be wasted. Now is the perfect time to be creative and adapt food to suit how you feel. If a warming meal is not what your body is craving, here are some ways to create a lighter more spring friendly dish:

  • Turn left-over slow cooked or roasted meats into tasty light salads
  • Thicken vegetable soup and serve as a puree with poached chicken and salad
  • Use poached or stewed fruits in a smoothie or top with yoghurt and muesli
  • Serve casseroles and stews with a leafy green salad for a lighter feel
  • Add fresh herbs to dishes to freshen and lighten the flavour

Spring friendly Meal Ideas

A few simple meal swaps to lighten the diet:

  • Swap warming porridge for homemade muesli or a smoothie
  • Enjoys salads and vegetable/broth based soups for lunch instead of creamy dishes
  • Snack on vegetable dips/avocado and freshly chopped seasonal vegetables
  • Plan to make a stir-fry instead of casserole/stew
  • Use avocado as a pasta dressing instead of heavy sauces
  • Try a few vegetarian meals using legumes, tofu, tempeh, nuts and seeds in replace of meat
  • Enjoy a daily green vegetable juice
  • Swap an after dinner hot chocolate for a herbal tea

Eating for Immunity

Try to not let your guard down as the change in weather can increase sickness! Continue eating for immunity throughout the change in season. Those who suffer from allergies may also benefit from building up the diet with the nutrients and foods below:

  • Zinc and vitamin C: enjoy foods such as berries, broccoli, pineapple, strawberries, pumpkin seeds and seafood
  • Omega-3 anti-inflammatory fats: enjoy foods such as fatty fish, walnuts, chia seeds
  • Support a healthy balance of gut flora with probiotic rich foods including yoghurt, kefir, kombucha, tempeh and miso
  • Vitamin E supports cell membrane stability especially in the nose, foods include almonds, beef, eggs, sunflower seeds and wheat germ
  • Papain found in papaya, helps to breakdown mucus, useful for those suffering allergies
  • Quercetin found in red grapes, apples and onions also helps breakdown mucus