We made it to the first Motivation Monday of April!
Ironically after last week’s post about when it’s time to skip the workout, I got hit with a virus and the whole week turned into a blur of sniffles and crazy work deadlines. That means today’s post will be extra short and sweet featuring one easy tip on how you can get your healthy eating plans in shape for the season. Many of us are getting into spring cleaning mode. So as you prepare to clean out the closets and drawers, don’t forget to give the pantry and kitchen cabinets a once over, too!
If you still have leftover holiday candy taking up space on the shelves, now’s a good time to bring those treats to the office where they’re guaranteed to be gobbled up quickly. (Better than you being tempted to eat an entire box of empty calories, right?) Of course, anything existing beyond an expiration date should just be tossed.
While you purge those food-filled spaces, it’s also a good time to take stock of what’s in your fridge and what you can add for a little variety. This is the time of year when lots of colorful fruits and veggies are at their peak and can add some flair to your daily menu. As you head to the grocery store or local farmer’s market, remember to fill your basket with a variety of color ranging from red to green to make sure you’re taking in a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and phytochemical. (Those are the plant chemicals known for helping to fight and prevent disease.) Here are a few ideas to freshen up your diet:
Rainbow chard: Getting bored with spinach? Try substituting your soups or stir-fries with this colorful veggie packed with nutrients like vitamins C and K, potassium, and iron.
Arugula: This is my favorite leafy green. (Sorry, kale!) It’s a little bitter with hints of pepper and mustard flavors. One half cup of fresh arugula has 2 calories, vitamins A, C, K, and folate. Arugula also contains the antioxidant lutein, which is known to benefit the heart, eyes and skin.
Strawberries: One serving – that’s eight strawberries – has more vitamin C than an orange! They also contain powerful anti-inflammatory antioxidants called anthocyanins. If you’re craving something sweet and don’t want the side order of guilt, strawberries make a great dessert, too.
Mangos: Another sweet treat, one cup of sliced mango has 107 calories and three grams of fiber. They’re also packed with antioxidant vitamins A and C and also contain vitamins E, B6, K, and potassium. Mangos contain plant chemicals called flavonoids, which may help control high blood pressure and help reduce the risk of heart disease.
What healthy foods do you look forward to enjoying at this time of year? Whatever is on your menu, now’s the time to look forward to a new month filled with healthy foods and all our plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
So, I thought I’d offer a list of some of my favorite seasonal healthy snack options:
- Carrots: I always have a package of baby carrots in my fridge. On Sunday’s, you’ll find me making grab-and-go serving sizes of carrots for each day of the work week. I usually add a serving of either cherry tomatoes, red, orange or yellow pepper strips and/or celery. Munching on carrots gives you that “crunch” sensation similar to eating pretzels or chips, but with benefits like beta carotene and other nutrients, they pack a much healthier punch!
- Watermelon: This is probably my favorite summertime treat! Low in calories, but loaded with sweet flavor, it’s a great way to keep my sweet tooth cravings in check. (Pineapple comes in as a close second.)
- Frozen grapes: There are three calories in a grape, so a bunch of frozen ones is a low-cal and healthy alternative to heavier desserts. Freezing them just adds some coolness on even the hottest days of the season!
- Frozen blueberries. Mix them into a plain non-fat plain Greek yogurt for a protein-packed low-guilt serving of “frozen yogurt.”
- Iced green tea: Next to cardio, iced green tea may be my biggest summertime addiction. Aside from giving me a needed energy boost in the afternoon, iced green tea also offers Vitamin C, antioxidants and bioflavonoids. Some studies suggest bioflavonoids help keep the arteries healthy and even prevent the development of cataracts.
- Finally, for all you picnic lovers, check out this link for some great portable recipes that don’t pack tons of guilt!
Would love to know what YOU love to snack on in the summertime!
Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend ahead filled with all your seasonal fitness and healthy food faves and plenty of opportunities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!