March 07, 2018

March is National Nutrition Month and what a great month it is. Spring arrives. Days are finally getting longer, the temperatures are beginning to warm up, and many of us start organizing and cleaning our homes. But spring cleaning is not just for your home anymore! It’s just as important for us to clean and brighten up other parts of our lives. Even if that New Year’s resolution did not work out.

Fear not, now is time for another resolution of sorts, more of a renewal, a freshening up. In my humble opinion, spring is a better time to rekindle your diet and workout routine. Restart that spark inside of you, supercharge your health and boost your energy. So, forget about the old New Year’s resolution and kick off the spring season feeling rejuvenated, happy and healthy.

Start by cleaning out your pantry. Begin this process by sorting through your cabinets and tossing out anything that’s expired. Yes, things in your pantry do have an expiration date! Spices, canned foods, baking supplies, nuts, cereal and even grains. Out with the old and in with the new.

You may find that you slipped into some not so great habits over the winter, so now’s the time to break them and start fresh. Go through your pantry and throw away any items that you feel are holding you down, whether it’s sugar, caffeine, or wheat, and replace them with healthy staples like herbs, spices, whole grains, oils, and teas.

Now that you’ve gotten rid of all the expired items or foods that might slow you down, it’s time to stock up on lots of fresh seasonal produce. Artichokes, peas (garden, snap, and snow) apricots, asparagus, rhubarb, mint and basil are examples of some delicious spring produce that you’ll begin to see in at the local farmer’s market. Strawberries and blueberries are another delicious and healthy treat, sweet, juicy and just plain yummy. Loaded with Vitamin C and antioxidants, these little gems are the perfect snack during the warmer months.

Switch up your nutrition routine or get into one. Spring cleaning your lifestyle is not just making over your pantry and fridge. Spring is a great time to start to add a rainbow of colorful and flavorful foods into your daily routine.  The cleaner you eat, the better you will feel. Give your body the attention it needs. If you eat fresh fruits and veggies that you enjoy on a regular basis, you’re more likely to make it a natural part of daily life.

Enjoy the spring season, it’s the best time of year to become alive again.

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