(NEW YORK) — You want to eat healthier, but the question you may be struggling with is, “How?”
If cooking isn’t your thing or time is hard to come by, Dawn Jackson Blatner — a registered dietitian nutritionist — is here to share tips on how to spring clean your plate and instantly make healthier choices in your diet.
To help give your body a clean slate, these four quick-and-easy steps can kick-start your healthier body this spring and beyond:
1. Frozen green juice bags
Sipping on green juice floods tons of powerful nutrients into your body. However, most of us don’t have expensive juicers or enough time in the day to make fresh green juice every morning. But the “Frozen Green Juice Bags” hack is a fast and less-expensive way to enjoy the beverage.
Add these three ingredients into a single quart-sized bag and then store it in your freezer:
- 1/2 lemon, peeled: Lemon contains immune-boosting vitamin C. Plus, sour foods may reset taste buds to help you crave less sweet stuff.
- 1/2 cups of spinach: It seems like spinach is good for just about everything. It has disease-fighting antioxidants vitamins A, C and E; calcium and magnesium for bone health; iron and vitamin K for healthy blood; carotenoids for healthy eyes and skin; and potassium for heart health.
- 1/2 cup of berries: Berries provide antioxidant-rich sweetness. Plus, they are fiber superstars.
When you want to enjoy a quick green juice, just blend the bagged contents with a cup of water for 15 seconds, creating a delicious, refreshing and sippable drink.
2. Snack makeovers
Healthy eating isn’t just about what we eat during meals — we also have to factor in all the snacking we do.
Vegetables are the key to better-for-you snacking, but they don’t have to be boring. Here are some fun ways you can add more veggies to your daily diet:
Asparagus and prosciutto
Asparagus is a spring veggie, meaning it’s at its peak flavor and its lowest cost during the season. When combined with prosciutto, you can eat them raw or — if you like heat — can pop them into a broiler for 1-2 minutes.
Jicama and guacamole
Jicama — which is high in both fiber and water — is low-calorie, filling, extra-hydrating and tasty when skewered and paired with avocado-based guacamole.
Better spinach dip and veggies
Spinach dip makes snacking on vegetables more fun and more delicious. But be warned: traditional spinach dip is made with mayonnaise and sour cream, both of which can be packed with calories.
A better-for-you version is made with Greek yogurt, so not only is it lower in fat, but it’s also higher in protein.
3. Lighten up portions
It’s not enough to just choose healthier foods — we also have to choose healthier amounts of what we eat.
Instead of obsessing with counting, measuring or tracking food, an easier way to monitor what you’re consuming is to use the “visual wisdom” of your eyes.
To help do this, use a divided plate — a trick that helped Blatner and contestant Jasmin win the weight-loss reality show My Diet is Better Than Yours.
Every time you eat, devote a fourth of your plate to protein, a fourth to whole grains or potatoes, half to vegetables, and add a little fat topping such as oil, dressing, cheese, nuts, seeds or avocado. This easy step will help you to better balance your meals.
Some sample menus you can enjoy on a divided plate include:
- A burger with no bun, baked sweet potato fries, salad and dressing
- Turkey meatballs, quinoa-based pasta, pasta sauce and broccoli, and Parmesan
- Grilled chicken strips, brown rice, stir-fry veggies and crushed peanuts
4. Sugar cleanout
One of the hardest habits to give up is caving into your sweet tooth.
When you aren’t eating sugar, fat from healthy places such as nut butter can help you feel satisfied. And when you aren’t eating sugar, fruit has natural sweetness that can help you feel satisfied.
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