Nutrition-focused spring cleaning

basket of vegetables

Liz West, Wikimedia Commons. CC License.

Here are five easy ways to clean up your diet and clear out unhealthy food from your pantry.

  1. Fresh is back! Many of us enjoy comfort foods like hearty soups and warm casseroles during the dreary winter months. Now that the warmer weather is on the horizon, it’s time to switch up your plate and bring back fresh veggies. Asparagus, turnips, kale, mustard greens, lettuce, peas, and rhubarb are all looking to make a comeback this spring.
  2. Farmers’ markets. Celebrate spring by visiting your local farmers’ market. Many open in early May. Bask in fresh produce, hand-made food items and unique crafts. Meet your local farmers and learn new recipe ideas.
  3. Plant herbs. Home-grown herbs can add extra flavor to springtime dishes. Start by picking your favorite variety. Consider basil, chives, cilantro, mint, parsley, safe or rosemary as these are easy to grow. Next, figure out the best spot for sunlight and plant growth. It can be either a backyard garden plot, a windowsill planter, or even separate pots that can be kept on a patio or near a sunny window.
  4. Clean out the pantry. Making the effort to clean and organize your pantry can help you save time and money in meal planning. Start by throwing out anything that is past its expiration date, or appears stale or suspicious. Wipe down any containers that are sticky or have residue on them. For items that can get easily lost (such as packets of taco mix, oatmeal, or meal replacement shakes), place these items in a plastic bin. Put everyday items (such as lunch ingredients, snacks, and bars) at the most accessible level. Group items by category, for example grains/pasta, oils, canned items, etc. By doing this, restocking your pantry becomes an easy task.
  5. Toss the junk food. Tossing out the junk food not only keeps temptation out of reach, but it also creates more room for healthy, wholesome foods. So throw out the cookies, candy, crackers, ice cream and pastries then never look back! Keep these products out of sight and out of mind. Replace with healthier options, such as fresh fruit, pre-portioned nut mixes, tuna packets, hummus, hard-boiled eggs, etc.

– Vicky Pehling is a dietetic intern going through the Beaumont Dietetic Internship program.

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