By Alexandra Maul, Made to Glow
Spring has sprung, it’s finally here! Warmer weather, longer days, and more time spent outdoors. Hal-le-lujah.
Most people think of spring as the season of growth and renewal. I like to think of it as a time for refreshing or resetting my habits, and bringing it back to basics.
Spring is the perfect time to take a look at what and how you’re eating, how it makes you feel, and if there’s anything you want to change. How about taking a little time to ‘spring clean’ your eating habits?
Load up on fresh fruits and veggies
Winter is over, and bounties of fresh produce are here! Yes, I love squash and root vegetables that are so prevalent during the winter season, but I can hardly wait as soon as spring comes along and we get more diversity of fresh fruits and vegetables. And, with more diversity comes more nutrients. High-five for the arrival of strawberries, asparagus, peas, and more.
• Hit up farmers market in your area, where you’ll find a wide array of fresh produce. Buy locally (you’ll get even fresher fruits and veggies that way), and load up on the gift of spring produce.
• I love this Epicurious Tool that allows you to see what spring produce is in season around you and also lists recipes for what’s around you.
• Not easy to get to a farmers market? Load up on fruits and veggies wherever you live. Need help figuring out what to do with them? I love sneaking them in wherever I can – and of course, smoothies and juices are a great way to up your produce intake.
Plan in advance
This is a game-changer when you’re focusing on improving your eating habits. Even for those that hate to plan, food prepping/meal planning can be adapted whether you prep at the beginning of every week, or you simply buy healthy snacks and less-processed ‘convenience’ meals to have on hand.
We’re all busy and on the run, so by planning and prepping we set ourselves up for success during the week. To avoid the ‘hangries’ (hunger causing anger), a little meal planning or food prep can make a world of difference.
• Yes, it takes time to prep, but a little bit of time spent on a Sunday means a TON of time (and money that would be spent on takeout) saved throughout the week! It means that I can have a healthy meal at any time, regardless of whether I’m working late, running low on time, and so forth.
• So, here’s the deal… if you’re not a big planner, no worries. When you do cook, make extras to have for leftovers and freeze some of the leftovers. Take advantage of salad bars and prepared food sections. Make sure you have some healthier ‘fast food’ options on hand and you’re good to go – I love to have staples on hand (brown rice, legumes, and proteins) that I can quickly throw together with greens, veggies, fruits, and a sauce or dressing or two, and I’m set. No meal planning necessary.
Pay Attention to How You Eat
How we eat is just as important as what we eat! Even if you’re eating the least processed, most nutrient-dense foods you possibly can, if you’re rushing through your meal, not chewing each bite, or not allowing enough time for your body to digest, you won’t be able to absorb all of those incredible nutrients. And, if you’re spending the time and money to buy the gorgeous produce that you saw at the market, search for/create a great recipe, and put together a beautiful meal, you absolutely want to get the most benefits, right?
Mindful eating can make a significant difference in our digestion and how we feel overall. And I have to admit, it’s something that I really struggle with – I speed through most of my meals in front of a screen while multi-tasking. But each meal is a new chance for change – try these tips and let me know how it goes:
• Don’t eat on the run. Sit down for each meal and try to get rid of distractions, like computers, phones, and tv screens.
• Once you’re sitting down, take 3 slow, deep breaths before you take your first bite.
• While you’re taking those deep breaths, take a close look at all of the yummy food on your plate, and send some appreciation out to the world (to the farmers who grew your food, the earth, your friend for making this fantastic meal for you, whoever!). By bringing your attention to your food, you’re putting yourself in the present (and activating that mouth watering salivation action) and priming your body to not only digest, but also enjoy your meal.
• Chew, chew, chew.
• Enjoy your meal. Truly taste it. Savor and take pleasure in this awesome food at your fingertips!
Alexandra Maul, MPH is a health educator, writer, and coach. After experiencing debilitating chronic health issues and learning how to heal, she created Made to Glow, a healthy living guide that educates and inspires others around healthy eating, self-care practices, and non-toxic living. Alex is passionate about empowering others to feel their best, and loves to share naturally gluten-free and dairy-free recipes, relaxation and fitness tips, and ways to live lean, clean, and green. Connect with Alex on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. When we feel whole, balanced, and healthy, we radiate from the inside out. We are all made to glow!
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