6 Ways to Spring Clean Your Diet

by Suzanne Hiscock
Ah springtime. It’s time to not only shake off the boots and winter blues, but shake off all the bad food habits we accumulated over the past few months. We tend to eat more stews and “heavy: comfort foods during winter as the days grow cold and dark.

If winter had you a bit stir crazy — and a few pounds heavier — it’s time to spring clean your diet. Here are my top six ways to take advantage of spring fever energy and make changes to help you drop the extra winter weight just in time for shorts season. *gulp*

1) Drop a Starch or Two

If you know me, you know I’m more of a calories in vs. calories out kind of person. I don’t believe carbs are the devil incarnate. But if you tend to add rice, potatoes, bread and/or pasta to lunch and supper, consider cutting down on your servings of starchy foods.

If you’re not too active in the evening, serve yourself a meal of lean protein plus veggies for supper. Skip the rice. You’re not going to burn off all those extra calories and they’ll just get stored as fat.

See: Do You Eat These High Protein Foods?

Cutting down on starches can save you two to three hundred calories a day.

2) Make One Supper a Week a Meatless One

Going meatless for at least one meal a week and substituting it with a vegetarian meal packs a double whammy of cutting down on calories and making you eat your veggies, too.

But don’t just eat a salad for supper. Explore meatless meals that include beans and legumes in addition to veggies. You’ll get even more nutrients without adding tons of calories. That’s eating smart!

3) Count Calories to Get Back on Track

As hard as you try, bad eating habits can creep back in over the winter season. Serving sizes get bigger bit by bit. The lack of sunshine and the cold wind make you want to reach for comfort food a bit more often.

Counting your calories can help get you back on track — and back in touch with your eating habits. You can track your calories for free with the FitWatch Calorie Tracker.

Don’t know how to count calories? Sign up for my free 28 Day Calorie Counting Boot Camp.

4) Cook Seasonal Vegetables

Another way to spring clean your diet is to explore seasonal vegetables in your area. Visit your local farmer’s market to explore all your options.

You can also do a Google search for seasonal vegetables plus your area for ideas on what to buy before you head out to market. Use sites like allrecipes.com or epicurious.com for healthy recipes.

Bonus: you’ll burn more calories by walking around the farmer’s market.

See: Calculate Calories Burned Walking

5) Take Stock of Your Food Pantry

Ugh, processed foods. I know they’re convenient but they’re likely not helping you with your weight loss plans.

Do a spring cleaning of your food pantry. Not only toss out anything that’s old but take stock of any processed foods that are in there. “Low fat” cookies (or regular ones)? Toss ‘em out. When it comes to certain processed foods, ‘low fat’ equals ‘more sugar.’

And we don’t want more sugar in our diet, right? Right.

Check the ingredients list. Is sugar right at the top? Is the list of ingredients longer than your arm? Time to toss it and figure out a healthy substitute. Same with anything high in sodium.

See: How Getting Organized Can Help You Lose Weight

6)  Cut Down on Your Liquid Calories

The last thing to look into: liquid calories. Your liquid calories can add up over the day. Soda or pop, sugar and cream in coffee, expensive lattes and cappuccinos, juice, milk and alcohol. The list goes on.

Not only do they add extra calories but since there isn’t much to ‘digest’, your body burns less calories. You’ll burn a bit more calories digesting a whole oranger versus a glass of orange juice.
  • Replace fruit juices with real fruits.
  • Replace whole milk with yogurt or cheese, or with a low fat version.
  • Save not only calories but money, too, when you skip the expensive coffees.
  • Cutting down on alcohol not only reduces calories but also helps your body burn fat more easily.

Don’t limit yourself to cleaning up your diet only in the spring. Mark each seasonal change on your calendar as a day to take stock of your eating habit. You’ll catch any bad habits much more quickly and not only lose the pounds but keep them off too.

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About the Author

Suzanne Hiscock is a PN L2 Certified Master Coach, ACE-certified Health Coach, as well as an ACE-certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist. For over 20 years, she's been helping people lose weight and get fit through her website, FitWatch.com.

And she’s really TRULY SORRY ABOUT THAT. You see, she didn’t realize she was contributing to diet culture; she just wanted to help people feel better. But losing weight isn’t the way to do it. She’s on a mission to change all that with an anti-diet approach. So, pardon the dust on the floor as the website gets revamped.