Your Essential Spring Diet Guide
You can feel the air getting warmer and the days longer. Spring is coming and it is time to get your diet and health on track. Spring signals new beginnings and this is your chance to start the season with a diet spring clean.
Changing Winter Habits- Eating with Awareness
What does your diet look like now? What have you been eating too much of over winter and what would you like to eat more of now Spring has sprung? For most of us it is the same story, needing to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables and less of the ultra processed foods such as biscuits, cakes, chips. Does this sound like you? First off, there is no need for alarm. There is no point feeling bad or guilty, it wont change anything. In fact, it may make things worse. If we feel bad about our food choices it wont help us make better ones. Take the power away that food has over you and just be curious about what triggers your food choices? Eat with awareness. For example when you sit down in the evening and take in the packet of biscuits on a cold winters night you have eaten the whole lot and didn’t have one or two that you planned to, why is that? What could you do differently and what would you like yourself to be eating?
Making the Healthy Choices the Easy Choices
We need to make the healthy choices the easy choices if we want to keep making them long term. Leave behind any guilt, spring clean that all away and make a plan of tasty nutritious snacks. The plan may work sometimes and not others, that is ok. If we take the evening biscuit scenario here are five suggestions to turn that around:
- Place one biscuit on a plate with some other nourishing Spring foods you would like to eat such as a fresh orange or mandarin. Enjoy these along with the biscuit.
- Try savoury over sweet for a change, with a slice of tasty cheese and a healthy handful of nuts.
- Heat up a glass of the Rokeby Farms Dutch Chocolate Breakfast smoothie and enjoy as a hot chocolate. This will provide you with much more protein than a traditional hot chocolate.
- Boost your vegetable intake by stewing some rhubarb with apple and pour on a little Rokeby Farms natural Probiotic Milk, Filmjolk with a sprinkle of cinnamon and brown sugar
- Increase your healthy fats by mashing up some avocado and spread it on wholegrain toast or crackers. The healthy fat in the avocado can be very filling.
Eat More Fresh Fruit and Vegetables in Spring
We know that fruits and vegetables are a vital component of a healthy diet and are widely recommended for their health and nutritional properties. (1) The many vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre they contain means we want to be eating plenty of them every day. (1,2).
The recommended intake of fruit and vegetables that men and women over the age of 18 years should be eating daily consists of 5-6 serves of vegetables and legumes and 2 serves of fruit (3) and we know that most of us are not eating this.
During the colder months there is less choice in fresh foods, with Spring comes a whole range of seasonally fresh produce for us to enjoy, particularly on the vegetable front.
Buying in season helps keep the cost down and the freshness and taste up. Each week try some new fruits and vegetables and prepare old favourites in different tasty ways. Add these to the shopping list and start your shopping in the fresh food shops. Here are a few ideas fresh Spring Fruit and Vegetable (4) ideas:
- Navel Oranges- cut up in the morning ready to snack on during the day
- Imperial mandarins- easy to peel and eat at your desk
- Grapefruit- try adding to a fruit salad or at breakfast time
- Lemon- squeeze onto your salad or onto green vegetables, add to a salad dressing made with Rokeby Farms Natural Probiotic Milk, Filmjolk
- Bananas- perfect for a pre or post training snack along with a glass of Rokeby Farm Blueberry Probiotic Milk, Filmjolk
- Asparagus – pan fry in a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with slivered almonds
- Broccoli- stir fry in a little soy sauce
- Spinach- add to the pan when you cook your eggs
- Silverbeet- add to a frittata, or in a curry
- Peas- cook in the pan with a little red onion and top with parmesan cheese
- Rhubarb- stew and eat with yoghurt or mix with cereal and natural Rokeby Farm Probiotic Milk, Filmjolk
- Avocado- mash on your toast with cracked black pepper and a squeeze of lemon
- Mushrooms- roast in the oven with extra virgin olive oil and chilli flakes
Swap one or more meat meals a week for beans, otherwise known as legumes. Meatless Monday has become a ‘thing’ in many households. Sometimes in winter we look for hearty meals of stew, curries, roasts that feature meat. You can still enjoy meat such as succulent spring lamb, but maybe a smaller serving size with more vegetables or a bean salad on the side.
There is plenty of research to show that including legumes in your diet will reduce the risk of chronic disease. One study showed a 20-gram (~1 tablespoon) increase in legume (5) intake was linked to a reduced risk of dying (up to 8 %) from any cause over the seven-year study period (6). Try lentil patties, chilli con carne with less meat and more beans or with the warmer weather a chickpea or three bean mixed salad.
Fuelling for Spring
With warmer weather comes the pleasure of spending more time outdoors. If you are increasing your exercise you may need to increase your fuel. This might mean slightly larger meals or nourishing snacks. Making a post training smoothie with fresh Spring fruit, Rokeby Farms Blueberry Probiotic Milk, Filmjolk and a handful of oats handful of almonds and Rokeby Farms Breakfast Smoothie would work well. The carbohydrate from the natural sugars in the fruit and milk will refuel muscles and the protein in the milk will help support muscle growth and repair particularly important if you are wanting to gain some muscle over Spring. (7)
Advanced Sports Dietitian