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Keen for a lifestyle spring clean? Nutritionist Kate Freeman has your back with these simple habits.
I adore the promise of a new season, especially when it’s changing from winter to spring. I love smelling the blossoms and feeling the warmth of the sun.
A new season always brings the feeling of a new beginning and because change is in the air, it’s a great time to start making some healthy lifestyle changes to get you feeling better about your health—even in lockdown.
There is no doubt that eating better and becoming more active will help you feel more energised, have a more positive state of mind, help you sleep better at night and give you an overall feeling of improved mental and physical well-being.
Here are 12 healthy habits to celebrate spring that you can apply straight away.
Wake early to exercise
Goodbye sub-zero temperatures and hello gorgeous sunrises!
It may be hard to get out of bed (trust me, I’m the worst at it) but it’s so worth it to see the beautiful sunrise and move your body before you start the day—especially with so many of us working from home and spending more time at our desks.
There are plenty of ways to stay active during lockdown beyond your daily two hours of outdoor exercise.
Water with a squeeze of lemon
Fill up a big jug with tap water, add the juice from 1 lemon and keep it in the fridge.
Good hydration is very important and drinking water is something that may slip your mind. Knowing that you have a fresh drink already made up for you is a great reminder to have some H2O. Aim to finish your jug by the end of the day.
The lemon does not do anything special apart from giving your water a bit of zing! I also love using frozen berries, mint and lime in my water.
Say NO to sausages
As we come into the warmer months, backyard BBQ season comes into full swing and I don’t know about you, but I find myself eating way too many sausages over the course of the season.
The cheap supermarket sausages are high in saturated fat, extremely high in salt and contain lots of other ‘fillers’ and additives. Minimally processed meats are a much better addition to your BBQ lineup.
Try steak or chicken breast marinated in lemon juice and fresh herbs or if you do love a good sausage buy a quality product from a local butcher (lockdown is an excellent time to support small producers!) and make sure you check the ingredients list.
Choose natural yoghurt
You’re making healthy changes so you might as well go all the way and make the switch to natural yoghurt.
It doesn’t matter too much whether it’s full fat or skim, but choose one with little or no added sugar and sweeten it up yourself with a little honey or fruit.
You’ll consume less sugar overall if you add it yourself. Use it to make this incredible dessert or snack idea.
Switch creamy desserts to fruity desserts
Ice cream has spring and summer written all over it.
It’s okay to indulge every now and then, but if you really need to have something sweet after dinner why not have something fruity instead?
Try frozen fruit popsicles, fresh berries or chopped fresh fruit with a dollop of yoghurt.
Make buffed-up sandwiches
One of the things that I love most about this time of year is going on (COVID-safe) picnics!
A ‘buffed-up’ sandwich is one that contains lots of fresh salad vegetables: grated carrot, rocket, baby spinach, cucumber, tomato, sprouts, Spanish onion, etc.
This kind of sandwich is much more filling than one that just contains ham and cheese or other processed meat or spread—plus, it’s much more nutritious as well.
Don’t forget to choose wholemeal, grainy or rye bread to keep your fibre intake up.
Say YES to breakfast
It’s undeniable, breakfast is important and well established as a healthy lifestyle habit.
You need to prioritise breakfast. If you don’t, you’ll run out of time in the mornings before you have to get to that Zoom meeting and it won’t happen. It’s as important as doing your hair (if you do your hair, that is).
Do get some sleep
It’s true, the longer you sleep at night the more likely you are to be a healthy weight.
Staying up late has specifically been shown to increase the likelihood of a person overeating. So make sure you get to bed on time–especially when you’re waking up early to exercise.
The rule of twos
Too much alcohol can sap your energy, cause an intake of excess kilojoules (calories), deplete important energy-releasing B vitamins and cause headaches, an inability to concentrate and leave you very unproductive for the day.
The rule of twos is this: “Two a day is plenty. Have two ‘miss a drink’ days a week. Two x two is a treat and two treats a week is too many”.
Fad diets are banned
This time of the year is when fad or crash diet companies plague on innocent victims of an inactive winter, who indulged in a little too much comfort food during lockdown.
If you are looking to lose weight this spring—resist the temptation to follow extreme dieting practices.
Follow a program that encourages balanced eating, the development of long-term habits and teaches you how to prepare and buy healthy food.
Be a good snacker
Snacking can either be extremely helpful or extremely damaging to your weight loss or healthy lifestyle choices—especially during lockdown when the fridge is always a short stroll away and emotions are high (see my article on emotional eating during lockdown here).
Snacking well comes down to being organised so you have something healthy on hand when you need it. My website has some great snack ideas if you want more information.
Eat your 2 & 5 everyday
You’ve heard me say it a thousand times: fruit and vegetables are the cornerstone of a healthy diet.
Be diligent in ensuring you are eating these amazing foods every day and encourage your family to do the same.
A change of season means we can enjoy some new produce as it becomes available.
If you’d like further help with your nutrition during this time, The Healthy Eating Clinic has a special lockdown package available that saves you 25% off nutrition support.
It includes three nutrition consultations with a dietitian, a one month membership to The Healthy Eating Hub online program and a recipe eBook.
See healthyeatingclinic.com.au/lockdown-package-sale for more information.