The last remaining remnants of chocolate eggs may still be hidden away in your kitchen cupboards or in the fridge, but all of this beautiful sunshine we've been having over the past few days is totally making my body beg for a spring clean.I often find myself feeling more motivated in nice weather, more determined to feel confident in myself and find I'm craving delicious, nutritious food like never before.
So, whether you're feeling your diet needs a total overhaul or you just need a few little tips and tricks to brighten up your everyday eating, here is how to spring clean your diet...
Get back to basics
Chill out with fussy ingredients and just keep things minimal. Jazz your food up with fresh herbs and use spices and plenty of black pepper to add more flavour to your dishes. Think basic, versatile recipes that you can play around with like porridge, roasts, soups, salads, stir fry's, courgetti, chilli/bolognese etc. It's exciting every once in a while to try out a new exciting recipe but it can be even more exciting playing around with different flavours in a dish that you know like the back of your hand. Do you make mean mince beef meatballs? How about some light and lean turkey meatballs and serve with a delicious tomato sauce. Or try a spring chicken roast with tonnes of delicious roasted vegetables? Play around, you never know what flavours you might discover.
Eat the rainbow
It can be boring seeing the same old colours appear in our lunchbox or on our dinner plate day in, day out. British Strawberries are slowly but surely coming back into season, so why not throw some in with your morning smoothie and a whole abundance of beautiful coloured fruits and vegetables. You never know what colour you'll end up with! Stir fry's and salads are another fantastic way to eat the rainbow - try different coloured peppers, avocado, tomato, beetroot, butternut squash...
When you're perusing the supermarket for fruit and vegetables, avoid picking out the same head of broccoli and pack of carrots and try and open your eyes to the colour all around you. Not only will eating a plate full of colour make you more excited to wolf it down, but it'll also be an opportunity to get plenty of fibre, vitamins and minerals into your diet which is a huge bonus. Plus, Instagram your food, it'll totally brighten up your feed!
Try a new food or recipe
It's all too easy eating the same old thing on rotation throughout the week - it's boring and it's precisely why you need to spring clean your diet! Why not challenge yourself to try a new fish or cut of meat, or a new selection of vegetables, or even a new spice. Tantalise those tastebuds as they're no doubt begging for new flavours to try. These crispy fish tacos are on my 'next-to-make' list - how delicious do they look? Pinterest is also a fantastic place to discover new recipe ideas too - from indulgent to nutritious and delicious.
Sometimes all you need to do is swap one ingredient for a lighter alternative. Courgetti is such an incredible alternative to spaghetti and so versatile too. Up until about a month or two ago, I was having a (small) baked sweet potato/fries/mash as the 'carb-ier' side of my main meal, yet always felt a bit bloated and too full. My skin was a mess, as were my hormones so I decided to really dial it down on the carbs and sugar. Instead I switched them for the humble butternut squash, which, once chopped into chunks and roasted in delicious spices is the perfect lighter swap, plus packs in a tonne of vitamin B (energy) and anti-oxidants (hello gorgeous skin). It's left me feeling much more comfortably satisfied and plus, it's ever so slightly more, and dare I say it, tastier than sweet potato.
Try cauliflower rice or mash as a much lighter and nutritious alternative, or calm down on the carbs in general and load up on delicious vegetables. Start small and you'll feel the effects in no time.
Go meat-free once a week
This is easier said than done for some, and for others it's a breeze. If you can't completely give up meat, then try swapping or doubling up on the number of days you have fish. It's important we give our bodies a bit of a rest from being the carnivorous machines we often beg it to be. Sometimes a simple roasted squash, avocado and feta salad is all you need, or a vegetables fajita bowl (with a generous dollop of guacamole, of course) works a treat. Or, use up your eggs and throw in any vegetables or other ingredients that are starting to look past their best into a frittata you can take with you to lunch every day. It gives your digestive system a bit of a break plus it encourages you to really experiment with vegetables, beans and pulses. My favourite? Deliciously Ellas' Lentil Bolognese!
Wave goodbye to sugar and alcohol...
...The two things that taste so good but really, they're so bad! It's easy after having hibernated for most of Winter to allow ourselves to have a glass or wine here and there and eat a dessert every night of the week because we hide underneath layers and don't expect anyone to ever see. The weather starts warming up a bit and our arms and legs come out and we feel self conscious after the festive, sugar filled season. Tone it down and start significantly reducing your sugar and alcohol intake. Your skin will improve, cellulite reduces and over all, you feel great.
Once a week or fortnight is best if you really must indulge, but find replacement for chocolates and glasses of wine and you'll realise you don't actually miss them at all. I recently posted my 'This, not That' selection choices which may help you if you're trying to reduce your sugar intake. I'd take some banana nice cream over half a tub of Ben & Jerry's any day.
Do you feel the need to spring clean your diet? What's your favourite meal to eat in the warmer weather? Let me know if you've got any tips to spring clean you diet...