Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming and you’ve just pulled yourself out of your winter slump and realized that your diet over the past few months could have rivaled that of a bear preparing for hibernation. Even if you haven’t packed on a few winter pounds, springtime can be the perfect opportunity to do a bit of spring cleaning with your diet. Ditch the rich stews for fresh salads, reevaluate where your calories are coming from and set yourself up for success all summer. Here’s your spring cleaning guide to tidy up your diet.
Ditch The Extras
One of the simplest ways to clean up your diet for spring is by nixing all of the things you don’t need. Just like you’re cleaning out your closet, tossing out sweaters and swimsuits that no longer serve you, you can do the same with the foods that you eat. Men’s Fitness says you need to ditch the high-calorie, junk additions to foods, like condiments, sauces and added sugars.
It’s simple to swap out things like ranch dressing (sorry, it’s got to go) with a lighter vinaigrette or low-sugar dressing. Banish mayo, leave chips and dip behind and look out for hidden sugars and unnatural ingredients. It might be tough to say goodbye to some of these foods, just like you don’t want to donate that t shirt you got running high school track, but it’s time. According to Runner’s World, a report in the American Journal of Public Health found that over 30 years across 5,000 men and women, calories from sugar increased by about 50 percent. And as sugar consumption got larger, so did their pants size.
The name of the game is natural. Now is the time to focus on finding foods that deliver what’s good and leave out what’s not. Performance Inspired Nutrition is dedicated to providing the best all-natural sports nutrition on the market without junk and fillers. It’s everything you need and nothing you don’t to help you meet your fitness and physique goals this spring.
Say Goodbye To Beer
This one hurts too, especially with barbecues and tailgates and baseball games on the summer horizon, but alcohol is a source of calories that your body just doesn’t need. According to Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), the calories consumed from alcoholic beverages can be a huge contributor to weight problems. Calories in alcohol are going to be used up by your body before it dips into your fat reserves. If you’re already overweight, alcohol might actually exacerbate the problem. According to MTSU, if you’re already carrying around some extra weight – which, if you’re a drinker, is more likely to be around your gut – alcohol could make you gain weight more easily.
Beer and wine are the worst offenders, according to MTSU. Regular beer contains about 150 calories per 12 ounce serving and light beer is marginally better with 100 calories for 12 ounces. Four ounces of dry wine has 100 calories and four ounces of sweet, dessert wine can pack a whopping 225 calories. That’s a donut worth of calories in one glass.
This doesn’t mean you need to become a teetotaler overnight. You can still indulge in an adult beverage from time to time, but alcohol should be just that – an indulgence. Work special things like a beer at a baseball game or a wine after work into your diet and plan for them. Don’t let a six pack keep you from having a six pack.
Get Green (And Colorful)
It’s finally spring. Things are blooming and budding and blossoming. It’s a fresh start for nature and a fresh start for you. Use it to work more fresh greens and other colorful vegetables into your own life. Runner’s World suggests shaking off winter’s heavy stews and soups with some fresh spring veggies. This will help you load up on fiber, antioxidants and all sorts of immunity-boosting, healthy nutrients. Athletes need these antioxidants to combat “exercise-induced oxidative stress” that can hinder muscle recovery. And the more colors you eat, the better off your body will be. (No, chocolate is not a color.) According to Colorado State University, people who ate a wide variety of produce in a wide range of colors had lower levels of DNA oxidation than people who ate fewer fruits and veggies.
You need to incorporate a wide variety of leafy greens into your diet for the same reasons. According to the Paleo blog Mark’s Daily Apple, greens can provide you with a whole host of nutrients that can help you feel and look your best. Magnesium can help your body function at its best. Leafy greens could be your best source of calcium and blood pressure-regulating potassium. Greens contain manganese, folate, betaine – you name it and you need it. Whip yourself up a spinach salad with colorful bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and a low-sugar dressing. Your body will thank you.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Spring showers should be a constant reminder to you to drink more water. According to Runner’s World, your intake of high-quality H2O could have suffered over the winter months. You need to get guzzling if you want to spring clean your diet. “Dehydration can impact your metabolism, leave you sluggish and mask itself as hunger,” Marni Sumbal, M.S., R.D. told Runner’s World. If you want to stay on track and slay your goals, you’ve got to be hydrated to do it.
Set Yourself Up For Success
The point of spring cleaning is not only to get rid of stuff you don’t need, but also to make sure you’re set up to be clean, organized and efficient moving forward. Same goes for your diet. Once you build habits of getting colorful vegetables in your meals, nixing the junk, drinking enough water and only indulging in alcohol on occasion, try your hand at meal prepping. You know the phrase – fail to plan and you plan to fail. Plan your meals to be full of the right nutrition to help you meet your goals and you’re planning to succeed.
You hear those birds chirping. Get out there and shake stuff up with them. Use the change of the season to change your diet and clean up your act. Drink more water, leave added sugars and high fat sauces behind you with the snowy weather, work in greens and colorful veggies and keep an eye on your alcohol before summer hits. Once you’ve nailed that down, start meal prepping and keep yourself on track. You’ll be hitting your goals this summer for sure.
Performance Inspired Nutrition can help you set yourself up for success. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest information and inspiration that can help you crush your goals all year long.