Spring…the Best Time for Health Resolutions
Spring, the season of freshness and new beginnings, is the best time of year to consider life improving resolutions. Winter months feel long and hard, making even the most well thought out New Year’s exercise and eating plans nearly impossible to stick with.
Planning to participate in some type of athletic event can be a huge motivator. Organized 5K walks/runs are a great place to start in the spring. After beginning a training program, you will soon feel more energized. Physical activity and a well-balanced diet are key to performing at your highest potential. But even physically fit people sometimes have a difficult time adhering to a nutritious diet.
As a Registered Dietitian, I have evaluated many diets, and have found there are at least 6 common bad habits. See if any of these sound familiar:
- Skipping meals. By famishing yourself, it can be difficult to stop eating when you finally get food. It’s so important to listen to your body and eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. This preserves your natural appetite regulation.
- Not eating enough fruits and vegetables. A diet that is rich in fruits and veggies has plenty of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Low calorie, high fiber produce fills you up and keeps you lean. Fruits and vegetables are rich in phytochemicals, which are known to reduce your risk for developing chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
- Not eating enough whole grains. Like fruits and vegetables, whole grains are full of phytochemicals that have disease preventing properties, and fiber.
- Eating too many refined grains and simple sugars. Cakes, pies, cookies, candies, sugar-sweetened beverages and white flour breads are cheap, tasty and easily found. Fine for special occasions, but easy to get too much of.
- Eating out too often. While it is possible to make good choices at a restaurant, fried foods and large portions prevail. Sometimes eating out makes it difficult to get the fruits, vegetables and whole grains your body needs.
- Drinking too many sugar sweetened beverages, like sweet tea, sodas, juice drinks, energy drinks.
If you have one or more of these bad habits, consider making one improvement at a time. For example, if you are not eating many fruits or vegetables, perhaps add a fruit snack every day. After that feels comfortable to you, consider another small step. After all, spring is a time of new beginnings, which should include personal rejuvenation with a healthy lifestyle.
Try this quick and easy spring recipe as part of your shape up plan.
Spring Green and Strawberry Salad
Spring greens for salad
Strawberries, cut into small pieces
Roasted pecans or walnuts
Poppy seed dressing
Combine ingredients and toss. Adjust quantity of ingredients based on what is available and the number of people you are serving.