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We’re not really sure what it is, but chances are you have already made it your mental mission to spring clean the heck out of your home, your cupboards or your garage.
But what about your diet? All that yummy winter food was probably heavier, heartier and more comforting (mac and cheese, anyone?), but it may have left you feeling a little sluggish and, well… meh. Spring is the perfect time to change things up, clear out some junk in your diet and feel better all round.
If you are anything like us, lists work for you. You get huge satisfaction when you get to tick those little suckers off. So we have put together a simple checklist to help you spring clean your diet for the warmer months ahead.
Tip: If trying all these at once is a bit of a challenge for you, why not start small and tackle one point per week? You’ll be sorted for summer in no time!
Sugar is just all-round bad for you. It may taste good but it adds empty calories to your diet and has this annoying little tendency to stick around. Your body digests refined sugars quickly, so they are not a good source of sustainable energy.
If you have a sweet tooth, rather snack on foods that contain natural sugars. For example, fresh or dried fruits. The body digests these at a much slower rate and they have the added benefits of nutrients like fibre, vitamins and minerals.
Be mindful of what you eat and make sure you get bang for your buck. In other words, if you eat the calories, make sure you get the nutrients with them.
This is such an important item on your checklist. In winter we tend to opt for hot drinks packed with caffeine and sugar like tea, coffee and hot chocolate over water or other hydrating drinks. Caffeine, while having numerous health benefits, is a diuretic, which actually increases urine flow, making our bodies lose water. So it’s important to replace those fluids with more water.
Even if the weather is still on the chilly side, you can find ways to increase your water intake:
Probiotics, also known as good or healthy bacteria, support a healthy digestive tract and aid digestion. Probiotics have been known to restore the balance between healthy and harmful bacteria in the gut. Some strains have also been linked to improved heart health, weight loss, reduced allergies and other health benefits, so introducing a good probiotic to your diet might be a good idea for you.
Remember, always consult your GP before introducing any supplements to your diet, especially if you have a history of digestive problems.
There are supplements available at your local pharmacy, but there are also fermented foods containing natural probiotics that you can add to your diet:
Healthy food definitely looks so much more appetising when you see a variety of bright colours on your plate. But more than that, the colour of food is often an indication of what’s inside:
Shake up your meals with a variety of colours:
Raw foods still contain their natural vitamin and mineral content, which means you get all their natural goodness. Cooking on high heat can cause raw fruit and veggies to lose some of their nutrients and natural enzymes. Light steaming of vegetables is better than full submersion in hot water, but when it comes to breakfasts, lunches and snacks, where possible, choose RAW foods.
There are lots of simple ways to add raw foods to your diet:
Montagu has a range of healthy, raw snacks to enjoy when you’re on the go during the day:
All of us eat, but most of us don’t eat mindfully. What does that mean? It means that we have the opportunity to make every meal an event. We tend to power through meals way too quickly, and we are often full-up long before we even realise it.
Recent research suggests that mindful eating (paying attention to the way you eat and taking the time to chew and notice the different tastes and textures of every bite) can help with weight loss. You’ll eat less to feel full, improve your digestion and enjoy your meal more.
It all starts with making the time and slowing down. Always in a hurry? Set your phone or the oven timer for 20 minutes, then sit down for a more leisurely lunch.
Here are some helpful suggestions to promote mindful eating:
The original idea behind Meatless Mondays was to encourage people to reduce their meat intake once a week and boost servings of nutrient-packed veggies and foods that protect against heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes.
While it may require a bit of planning and creativity, Meatless Mondays can become a family favourite, especially with picky eaters!
Meatless Mondays are made so much easier with Montagu snacks, like nuts and seeds:
With the help of this handy checklist, your diet spring clean is sure to encourage better eating habits that will help you feel great. Go for it!