By Colette Micko, RDN
April usually brings about the notion of spring-cleaning. From tidying up our closets, pantries, and even our diets, spring time is all about starting fresh. Below are a few tips on how to clean up your kitchen and diet for success!
- Replace non-stick pans with cast iron or stainless steel. Non-stick pans are made with a chemical known as PFOA (perflourooctanic acid) that has been linked to a variety of health issues, even weight gain. Replace non-stick pots and pans with cast iron or stainless steel. While these tend to be a little more expensive, their durability (and proven safety) makes them worth the extra penny.
- Rid your pantry and refrigerator of foods or beverages with added sugar and/or artificial sweeteners. Sugar is the most common “trigger” food for overeating. Highly processed foods are typically laden with added sugar and low in vitamin and minerals. Even artificial sweeteners (most commonly found in diet or sugar free products) have been shown to increase cravings for sweet foods, interfere with hunger and fullness cues, and alter energy metabolism. Play detective in your pantry- read the ingredient list on foods and toss anything with added sugar or artificial sweeteners.
- Go back to basics. Out with the old and in with the new! Stock up your kitchen with the basics for optimum nutrition! This includes a variety of organic fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and small amounts of 100% whole grains (oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice). Discard pre-packaged meals, boxed foods, and anything loaded with ingredients your grandma wouldn’t recognize.
- Replace plastic water bottles and storage containers with glass or stainless steel. BPA (bisphenol A) is common element found in plastic water bottles and Tupperware containers that has been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and poor reproductive health. Additionally, more recent research has found small amounts of plastic material in bottled water. In order to avoid this, replace plastic water bottles and storage containers with glass or stainless steel.
- Plant a food garden. Spring is not only about starting fresh, but growth! Learn more about how to start your own small space vegetable garden here.
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