Spring is not just the time for cleaning your home! Don’t forget the kitchen, cupboard, fridge and nutrition. Instead of thinking about throwing stuff away like your mind might jump to – The best way of getting on track with your nutrition is having plenty of good food available.
Step 1: Stock up on in season fruits and vegetables, plus having a good supply of canned and frozen produce
Buying seasonal produce ensures that they are packing the most nutrients they can. We recommend buying them from the farmer’s market so you know exactly how they’re grown or looking for the Foodland Ontario logo.
On your next shopping trip, pick up these spring powerhouses.
- Green peas
- Green onions
- Spring squash
- Sweet cherries
Step 2: Load up on leaner proteins
There’s nothing wrong with a little red meat in your diet, but most of us get too much. Cut down to red meat once a week (and keep your portions in control — a serving size is about the size of a deck of cards). Look for fish and chicken instead.
If you’re worried about mercury in your diet from sea creatures, opt for “light” tuna over “white” tuna. White tuna is albacore, which is larger and older when caught, so it’s had more time to accumulate mercury (three times as much)!
When selecting your cuts of chicken, don’t automatically go for white meat. While it’s true that white meat has fewer calories, it also has less iron, zinc, thiamine, riboflavin and vitamins B6 and B12. And as any chef will tell you, it also has more flavor!
If you’re just craving beef, avoid the drive-through and make it at home. Choose cuts with the least amount of visible marbling (fat). The leanest cuts are top sirloin steak, top and bottom roast or steak, eye of round roast or steak, and sirloin tip side steak.
Plant based proteins to start to incorporate into your diet include veggie ground, edamame, lentils, tofu and tempeh.
Step 3: Experiment with adding more good to your staple dishes
We’re sure there were more than a few of the spring foods we listed you just don’t like. But there are several ways you can sneak them into your diet.
Pasta night a regular staple:
- Use spaghetti squash instead of pasta and top it with a homemade tomato sauce with spinach and artichokes.
- Make a pesto using spinach, radish leaves and arugula, which is much more flavorful than the traditional pesto.
- Toss it with some whole-wheat pasta and a lean protein like shrimp or chicken.
- Make a puree of yellow squash and heat it with a few ounces each of sharp cheddar, jack cheese, ricotta, Parmesan and your favourite spices.
Want a salad side dish:
- Make a salad of leafy greens, arugula, diced radishes, broccoli florets, green onions, fresh spinach, cooked artichoke hearts and fava beans, and top it with homemade strawberry or raspberry vinaigrette.
- No need for croutons; the radishes will provide plenty of crunch.
Serve steamed asparagus with a dijon-based sauce instead of hollandaise, or steamed squash and red peppers tossed with low- or no-sodium seasoning alongside a lean cut of chicken. When you’re on the go, pack a snack of dried apricots and sunflower seeds to keep your energy up. Make a smoothie with frozen yogurt and a mix of berries, including strawberries.