It’s that time of year again! The clocks have sprung forward, the days are getting longer, and the weather is getting warmer. You may be finding yourself opening up the windows, sweeping up winter firewood dust, and freshening up your closets. We have some recommendations to add to that spring cleaning list this year! Here’s our tips for how to spring clean your nutrition & wellness routine.
Spring Clean the Kitchen Pantry
Have some canned, jarred, boxed, or bagged foods that have just been taking up space? Let’s pull those out.
- Check the nutrition labels. A few of the key things we want to look at are saturated and trans fats, sodium, total carbohydrate, added sugars, and fiber. Use these points to help you decide what to toss and what to keep.
- Saturated fats and trans fats are the fats that can have poor consequences on our heart health if we take in too much. When looking at the nutrition label, you want to aim for less than 3g per serving of saturated fat and trans fat, combined.
- Sodium can affect our heart health and our blood pressure. Too much salt leads to our blood pressure rising, and fluid retention. This is also why you might feel really thirsty and bloated after a salty meal! The best way to check the sodium content in your foods is to look at the %DV column. Foods with 10% DV sodium or less are the ones you want to choose.
- Total carbohydrate can help give us a good idea of how many servings of carbs we are having at a time. About 15g of carbohydrate equals 1 serving. We typically want to have 2-3 servings of carbs (30-45g) at meals, and 1-2 servings of carbs (15-30g) at snacks. If you have high triglycerides, you’ll want to make sure you stick to 30g of carbs or less.
- The added sugars tells us the amount of table sugar (or cane sugar) added to a product to make it sweeter. This excludes any sugars that might be naturally occurring in a product (for example, fruit canned in 100% will have natural sugar in it, but might not have added sugars). Aim to include as little added sugar in your food choices as possible.
- Fiber has lots of benefits in our diet! From lowering bad cholesterol to regulating digestion and keeping us fuller for longer, there’s lots of reasons why we want fiber to be our friend. The average adult wants to aim for 25-30g of fiber each day. A food product with 3-4g per serving is a good source of fiber, and a product with 5g or more per serving is a great source!
- Meal plan around the items you have. Now that you’ve gone through the pantry looking at food labels, set aside the food items that don’t meet your nutrition goals vs. the ones that do. For the foods that meet your food goals, decide: Will I use this? What will I make with it? Plan out meals over the next 1-2 weeks that you will use those products for. Want a little help with meal planning for your health goals? Check out our meal planning app! Customized to you and your nutritional needs, our dietitians will get you set up with endless recipe options to choose from, plus you can search for recipes based on ingredients!
- Donate. Any food products left over that you can’t think of a plan for? Donate them so that someone else can use them. This will help other families, and it will help you to make space in your kitchen for foods you will use and eat. Click here to find a local food bank to donate food items to.
Take a Look at Kitchen Appliances & Cookware
Do you have an old crockpot you don’t use? Two or three different blenders? As the saying goes, “use it or lose it”. Clear out any appliances and cookware you don’t use, or make a plan for when you’re going to use it. It might be the cutest waffle maker ever, but it’s not that cute anymore if it’s just taking up shelf space and dust!
On the flip side: do you have worn-down pans that need to be replaced? Kitchen tools that have been overused? Tupperware containers with melted sides? Time to clear those out, too. Treat yourself to fresh cooking supplies. This will make your time in the kitchen easier and more enjoyable. Check out a few of our favorite things below:
- Snap-On Pot Strainer
- Kitchen Wrap Box Organizer Stand
- Olive Oil Spray Bottle
- Kitchen Utensil Set
- Pan Organizer Shelf Rack
- Large Salad Spinner
- Bamboo Cutting Board Set
- Magnetic Fridge Organizer
- Non-Stick 2-Piece Skillet Set
Pull out a box and collect the items you’re not using. Bring them to sell at your neighborhood yard sale, or bring them to a Goodwill near you to donate.
Check Out the Garage & Outdoor Shed
One last spot to add to your spring clean list is the garage and outdoor shed. A few things you might find….
- Outdoor sports equipment. Tune up your bikes and get them tuned ready for use. Dust off roller skates and helmets to take to the park. Dig out those hiking boots for an outdoor adventure. Maybe you have basketballs, tennis racquets, or other sports equipment- try joining a club or an intramural league!
- Gardening tools. Do you have any hand shovels, rakes, or fencing material? Pull them out to try your hand at growing a garden, and be your own local farmer! It gets you outside, it’s a great way to get in physical activity, and you can grow your own nutritious produce. Plus, it can be a fun activity for the whole family! If you’re not sure where to start, check out this list of 10 easy vegetables for beginner growers.
- Donate. If you find items that you know you’re just not going to use, add it to that donation bin so that you can make room for other things!
Want to add even more nutrition tips to your spring cleaning list? Get scheduled with one of our RD’s today for more tips and information. Learn more here.
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