Spring is almost here!
There’s just something about the leaves growing and the flowers blooming that sparks interest in cleaning and purging things around your house. When it comes to spring cleaning, let’s not forget to include our refrigerator and cupboards. This is the perfect opportunity to jump back into New Year’s resolutions and just overall dietary and lifestyle habits. It’s never too late to start or get back on track so let’s talk about how we can do that with the coming of the new spring season.
This year, in my own personal health and fitness journey I have noticed that it all has been tailored around one theme:
Keep It Simple
The best way to accomplish a healthy lifestyle is by making it as easy as possible to incorporate better habits into your current schedule and not the other way around. And the first way to do this is by starting from the source of where you get most of your meals. What you have access to at any given time of day can be a huge factor in hitting those macros, lowering your sugar intake, or just making better choices altogether. When you only allow healthy things in the house, your only option for a late night snack will be an apple or pear instead of chocolates and candies and the same goes for the mommas out there as well; If you stock your refrigerator with fruits and vegetables or healthier snacks than your kids and teens will have no choice but to eat the celery and peanut butter.
Let’s take a look at your refrigerator and freezer.
Maybe it’s stocked full of leftovers or quick and easy snacks and meals. There is nothing quicker or easier than fruits and vegetables. From celery and carrots, broccoli and cauliflower, or peaches, apples, pears and the like, it can actually be quite easy to fill the fridge with healthy snacks on the go.
However, if you’re anything like me- you don’t always eat everything as quickly as they can go bad… so instead, start filling your freezer with fruits and vegetables if that’s easier for you.
Did you know they now have frozen avocado cubes?
Or even frozen chopped onions and bell peppers?
These quick and easy frozen fruits and vegetables can be staples in your meals whether you’re meal prepping or just needing something fast- using fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables can make a huge, positive impact in your diet.
Now, let’s talk about the pantry.
The dreaded pantry. Somehow, the pantry just seems to collect things without you even noticing (is this just me?!).
Rule number one, check your pantry before you go grocery shopping. You’d be surprised how many times you thought you needed mayo and bought it fifteen times or maybe you’ve got enough peanut butter to feed a village (if this is you, make sure to bring some into the clinic to donate to our food drive!).
Rule number two, don’t shop on an empty stomach! I feel, this is the number one way to snag that extra bag of chips or the cakes and cookies that seem great at the time- but aren’t the best thing to keep around the house. I want to reiterate that it is okay to splurge every now and then and get a snack that you adore. However, you don’t need the family-sized package or even a tub of something. If you must grab an unhealthy snack, try to grab the smallest portion so that when you get a craving again you can either ration out the one snack or if you end up eating the whole thing, there’s no harm done because it was only a small portion anyway.
Lastly, let’s talk about planning. The saying goes “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” and this is true when it comes to staying on track. As you toss old food items and bring in the new, try and think about what meals, snacks, and shakes you want to have throughout the week. Don’t just buy a gallon of almond milk because you think it is a healthier alternative, try and plan out exactly what you’ll use it for.
Are you thinking you’ll make a smoothie?
How many times a week?
How often do you want to cook an actual meal this week vs. just blend some fruits and veggies in the blender?
These are great questions to ask yourself as you create your grocery list. The better you can plan out your meals the better you’ll follow a proper diet as well as even save on buying things you don’t need or won’t use up before they go bad.
Here’s how you can plan to fill your fridge or pantry with good quality ingredients.
- Start with recipes you love that are quick and easy
- Write out all of the ingredients this will take
- Think about how often you eat and when i.e. Three meals a day with 2 snacks? Two big meals a day with more snacks in between? etc.
- What quick and easy snacks do you enjoy?
- How can you use the ingredients you already have to make meals/snacks last longer throughout the week?
Now let’s plan it out.
Example: This week I want to have Chicken alfredo with broccoli, turkey burgers, and a burrito bowl with ground turkey for dinner and I’ll make enough of each to have leftovers for lunch the following day. In the morning I will have a chocolate protein shake, for lunches I can just pack a salad on the days I don’t have enough leftovers from the previous diner. I will cook extra chicken to pack with my salads. For dessert, I’ll enjoy some baked apples with cinnamon and honey.
When you take a look at these meals there are a lot of things that overlap.
For example, I can buy extra chicken breast to also use for lunches. And extra ground turkey to use for turkey burgers and burrito bowls. When it comes to the chocolate protein shake it requires kale and avocado and it’s more convenient for me to purchase these frozen than fresh. If I want a snack I could get extra broccoli that I will use for chicken alfredo but also grab some ranch or hummus to enjoy it as a snack later on in the week, as well as extra apples to snack on throughout the week as well in addition to having them as dessert. And so on, with the rest of the ingredients and meals.
Planning out your weeks- whether it’s a couple days at a time or for the whole week and maybe even the whole month if you’re feeling extra motivated can actually save you time and money and help you progress in your health and fitness journey!
Here’s to a fresh new start this spring season as we clean out our houses, refrigerators, and pantries. If you fell off the health kick, get back on! It’s never too late to make better choices. And if you’re doing great this year- keep going! I hope these tips help make things easier or just reaffirm you that you’re on the right path. This new decade is still in our hands and is going to be the best one yet! Stay tuned for spring cleaning part two next month!