Refreshing guest post written by Nita Sharda, registered dietitian, foodie and owner of Carrots and Cake Balanced Nutrition Consulting. For more amazing nutrition tips and fantastic healthy recipes, follow her on Twitter or visit her new blog at Carrots and Cake.
Though it may not feel like it, it’s here people. Spring. Is. Here.
As we bid farewell to a long and rather feisty winter, we welcome all that the new season will bring us. For many, spring marks a time for an annual “purge-my-closet”, a car tune up and more famously, we gear up to hit the shopping malls in race for the perfect new shoes, purse or even that pretty dress.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with any of this; but how many of us take this time to reflect on how we eat and where we can perhaps make a few improvements in our diet, if even one?
Here are some tips to keep in mind as you embrace spring with a sense of renewal and work towards a healthier you:
Reduce sugar by a third in baked good recipes. Now that’s a sweet deal. It’s no secret that foods that contain sugar can be part of a balanced diet, but too much of the sweet stuff can add unnecessary calories. Be conscious about your efforts to reduce sugar intake. We certainly can’t completely omit sugar when we bake chewy cookies, moist muffins or sweet breads. But typically up to one third of the sugar can go missing without anyone noticing. If you’re going give this try, add a little extra cinnamon, vanilla or almond extract to add a hint of sweetness without the load of sugar.
Get intense flavor with less fat. When people want to reduce fat intake, they often jump the gun and eliminate cheese from their usual regime. C’mon, cheese is more than just F-A-T. Cheese provides muscled building protein, calcium and other nutrients too. Reduced-fat and low-fat cheese can be a smart choice for snack and sandwiches—look for something at 20% M.F. Because these types of cheeses don’t melt well and make for a tough or stringy casserole, try using a little less regular cheese in your usual recipe. Or, shred in highly flavourful cheese such as Asiago, aged cheddar or Parmesan.
Eat a variety of different fruits and vegetables. No one fruit or vegetable is so “super” that it can keep you healthy on its own. Don’t dwell on products that are labeled as “superfoods”; sometimes this phrase is used to market expensive foods or new trendy ingredients. Everyday (and affordable) produce such as broccoli, carrots or apples can be just nutritious.
Fibre up! Fibre can help to lower blood cholesterol and control blood sugar levels. This is called soluble fibre and is found in some vegetables, fruits and legumes. Other types of fibre, called insoluble fibre from some vegetables and fruit, whole grains and wheat bran, help keep you “regular” and may protect against colon cancer. How can you increase fibre?
- Consume higher amounts of whole grains such as rolled oats, barley, quinoa and brown rice.
- Replace at least half of the white flour with whole wheat flour in your recipes.
- Add a few spoonfuls of bran, chia seeds and ground flaxseed to your cereal or yogurt.
- Ease of the peel—crunch into your apples and pears as they are.
- Read the label—check for grams of fibre. A food labeled as “high in fibre” must have four or more grams of fibre per serving.
- Try your hand at these Energy Date Balls that are loaded with fibre and will hit that sweet spot
These are only a few small steps and simple changes you can employ to make a big difference as you move towards a healthier you. Remember, a Registered Dietitian can be a part of your whole health. For information or to contact Nita, visit www.carrotsandcake.ca