Different vegetable and fruit juices in glasses with oranges, tomatoes, limes, and grapefruits

Spring Renewal

If you really want to make some changes to your lifestyle spring is the perfect time to start fresh and get back to basics. How you ask?

First, let’s do some spring cleaning. Open up your fridge, freezer, and pantry. Take a good hard look at what you have in there. Check for staples items. Click here for a list. Get rid of processed foodstuffs that are high in sodium, saturated fats, and sugars.

Next, forget everything you have ever heard or learned about “dieting”. I will tell you something truly amazing. It’s so simple, but not easy. When you change your mindset and start eating REAL food, you will be amazed at how your body responds. Fruits and vegetables truly are one of the best sources of vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting phytochemicals you can find. You should be getting at least five servings of vegetables daily, but I encourage you to eat even more than that since they’re so good for you. They not only will help you to lose weight but may help you to heal your body as well.

Here are some tips to get more from your diet:

Start your day with a cup of warm water with lemon.

Chose whole fruit instead of fruit juice. (More fiber).

Read labels. Look for the word "whole” before any grains, lower sodium, and lower sugar content.

Cut your processed food intake.

Start your day off right, a bowl of oatmeal, a piece of fruit, whole grains, and a healthy protein.

Snack on raw vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

Add legumes, seeds, and nuts into soups, salads, and stews.

Replace refined white grains with whole-grains.

Have a salad for lunch or dinner two times per week. (Watch the dressing. Oftentimes the majority of those calories add here). Honestly, one teaspoon of dressing is all you need. Give your salad a good toss. You can always add more.

Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Don’t give up on yourself if you had a bad day.

Starting off on the right foot is not always easy. You can’t just say “Hello World, I am here and I am going to lose weight and get healthy.” It takes time, thought, passion, and most of all commitment. Often it takes someone to be your coach and your champion. That’s where I come in. I want to help you. I want to be your champion. I want to cheer for your accomplishments and guide you through the rough spots. I want you to get the health you want and deserve.

Check out our virtual Chef page where I can help you meet your goals.

By: Gary Appelsies, MS, Director of Healthy Eating, YMCA of Central Florida