Now that Winter is on the way out and Spring is here, it’s time to lighten up your diet and take a look at your portion sizes and what you need to do to optimise your health.
Most hearty Winter meals can be quite stodgy and carb heavy. This, combined with cooler weather and decreased motivation to get outside and exercise, can lead to a few extra kilos being gained over the cooler months. Getting back to your optimum weight doesn’t need to involve a diet per se, it really just needs you to have a look at what you are eating, re-evaluate your goals and make some simple substitutions.
- Eat seasonally
Make the most of the wonderful spring fruits and vegetables that will be coming into season. Eating food that is in season means that you will be getting more of the nutrients that these foods contain as they most likely haven’t been imported or travelled half way across the country to get to you.
At the end of the day, the most important thing about getting your diet right is balance, which means everything in moderation, no good foods, no bad foods, all equal foods. Some foods are designed to be eaten more frequently than others less often. Making sure you get variety is the key to a well-balanced diet – concentrate on eating the rainbow and reducing portion sizes.
- Avoid packaged foods
Avoiding packaged foods, within reason, can dramatically improve your health. Not only are packaged foods generally highly processed, they also contain preservatives and often a lot of salt and sugar. When doing your shopping and meal planning, think about whole foods – fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, chicken fish, dairy, grains nuts and seeds. If you can include all these things in your diet then you are on the right track. At the supermarket, most of these products (except grains) are generally located around the border, not down the aisles.
- Plan your meals
If meal planning is something you do during Winter, then continue it into Spring, but think lighter meals. Replace the casseroles, soups and pasta bakes with vegetable packed stir fries, lean cuts of meat with steamed spring vegetables or grilled fish and salad.
Reassess your exercise goals. In amongst the rain and cold mornings, Winter can be a hard time of year to keep up that daily exercise. Use these slightly longer days and sun that kisses your skin to get outside, get some vitamin D and set some goals around exercise and stick to them. It doesn’t have to be anything mammoth, even just a 20 minute walk 4-5 days a week is better than nothing.
Use the warmer weather to get outside a bit more, catch up with friends and socialise. With the warmer air, the birds sing more and become more social, so should we as humans. You will feel better for it and be better equipped with the daily challenges that life throws at you.