It’s that time of year again. Spring is just around the corner. As it approaches, the vast majority of homeowners are taking part in a ritual deep clean of their homes called spring cleaning. During this time, it is entirely within reason to declutter closets, dust rooms from top to bottom, sprinkle gym shoes and tough stains with baking soda, and wash inside drawers, cabinets, and well-used appliances. While your run-of-the-mill spring cleaning routine may bring you greater peace of mind, it will do little to nothing for your nutrition.
Take a step back and truly consider the look and feel of your kitchen this spring. Deep cleaning your kitchen, re-organizing it, and redesigning it can help you clean up your diet and live a healthier lifestyle. Don’t know exactly where to begin or how to improve your diet and health by rethinking your kitchen? Follow these tips to do it.
The Importance of a Healthy Lifestyle
Do you want to learn how to improve your diet and health? Step one involves taking the time to learn why living a healthy lifestyle is truly important. While many espouse the importance of eating a nutritious diet and living a healthy lifestyle, many also fail to mention how exactly it benefits you. Here is just a brief overview of what you stand to gain from eating healthy and being more active:
- More energy. There is no harm in doing the things you enjoy — within reason. For example, if you like to unwind by online gaming, that is perfectly fine as long as you keep it to an hour or less per day or a few hours over the course of the weekend. The idea is not to be sedentary for too long and too often. Why? Gaming for hours-on-end will make you feel sluggish, it may lead to poor eating habits, and it may even get in the way of you getting important things done, like exercising or doing errands. Eating right and exercising both have the exact opposite effect. Eat high-fiber vegetables, whole grains, and nuts for a slow, steady release of energy throughout your day. Exercise regularly to help regulate your sleep cycle. Physical activity will help improve your sleep and help you wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and well-rested.
- A stronger immune system. Living a healthy lifestyle means that you will not get sick as often. Eating foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals boosts your body’s immune system response. A healthy, varied diet packed with vitamins and minerals promotes the growth of new immune cells as well as the presence of a healthy microbiome. One of the easiest ways to ensure that your diet is nutrient-rich and varied is to eat from a colorful plate. A colorful plate typically indicates an assortment of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and grains.
- A happier life. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter and hormone that stabilizes mood and makes you feel good. Surprisingly, 95% of the serotonin in your body is in your gut. Eating a healthy diet with healthy bacteria stimulates the production of serotonin in your gut and, ultimately, throughout your system. Similarly, regular exercise also boosts feel-good hormones, regulates sleep, and eases symptoms of depression and anxiety. The result? If you learn how to improve your diet and health, you will be markedly happier for it.
- A longer life. The benefits of a healthy lifestyle cannot be overstated. In fact, eating healthy and moving your body more means that you will live longer — and quite a bit longer, too. According to Harvard Medical School, women with healthy habits live 14 years longer than their less healthy counterparts. Men live up to 12 years longer.
Start In The Kitchen: Clean and Reorganize With a Healthy Diet In Mind
If you want to learn how to improve your diet and health this spring, start in the kitchen. Cleaning your kitchen, reorganizing your kitchen, and even tweaking your kitchen design can have a surprisingly large effect on your well-being and physical health. Here are some key ways to get started.
- Clean. One of the best ways to spring clean your kitchen and do it in a way that will benefit your health is to purge your kitchen of unhealthy food items. Start with the pantry. Swap unhealthy items for healthier alternatives. For example, replace sugary breakfast cereals with steel-cut oats or whole-grain oatmeal. Toss pasta, white bread, pretzels, and chips. Purchase whole-grain pasta, veggie pasta alternatives like chickpea pasta and lentil pasta, and whole-grain bread instead. Limit sweets, like candy and cookies, to the occasional treat.
- Reorganize. Another way to begin eating healthier is to reorganize your kitchen. If junk food and sweets are readily accessible and in plain sight, of course, you are more likely to reach for them when you want to eat or snack on something fast. To keep your urges under control, get rid of most junk food in the house. If you choose to keep a limited supply on-hand, put it up high on hard-to-reach pantry shelves. Put healthy non-perishable snacks, like baked apple chips, roasted chickpeas, roasted edamame, rice cakes, almonds, and cashews on the shelves right in front of you when you open the door.
Organize your refrigerator the same way. Keep fruits and vegetables in plain sight. Thoroughly rinse and clean fruits and vegetables and keep them in clear, transparent containers on the middle shelves of your refrigerator.
- Re-imagine. Some smart kitchen redesign can help you get tabs on your diet. One simple solution is to repaint your kitchen. According to Homes.com, warm colors, like red, orange, and yellow, stimulate energy and appetite. Cool colors, on the other hand, promote a calm, relaxing atmosphere. Paint your kitchen blue to encourage yourself to eat more slowly and mindfully instead of simply shoveling food into your mouth.
Likewise, arrange the right accents and accessories throughout the room. For example, if you are wrestling with an addiction to sweets, a French pâtisserie sign with pictures of cream cakes, croissants, tarts, and éclairs isn’t going to do you any favors. Swap out pastry shop-themed signs for pictures of fruits and vegetables instead. Similarly, studies show that people who watch cooking shows inevitably eat more than those who do not. Remove the TV from your kitchen, and opt for a radio or voice assistant instead. Playing soft, relaxing tunes as you eat can also help you slow down, enjoy each bite, and eat less.
For the best guidance about how to improve your diet and health this spring, start in the kitchen. Clear out unhealthy snacks, put healthy snacks in plain view, and choose the right kitchen paint color to set yourself up for success.
Grow Your Own Vegetables In a Backyard Garden
It is not a stretch to say that you have likely heard of the farm-to-table movement. Even more efficient is skipping the farm altogether and growing produce right in your own backyard. If you are looking for more tips on how to improve your diet and health this spring, consider growing your own fruits and vegetables.
What are the perks of your own produce? In nearly all cases, you will be that much more motivated to eat fruits and vegetables that you grow from seedlings. After putting all of that effort into the process, you are much less likely to let your fruits and vegetables go to waste. Plus, when you grow fruits and veggies on your own, you do not have to worry about farmers growing them with harsh chemicals and pesticides. You control the ways you tend to your garden. That said, one of the best ways to naturally ward off pests is to create a sturdy barrier between animals and your yard. Talk to a fence company about the best fencing options to keep animals out.
What Vegetables Should You Grow This Spring?
As with spring cleaning your kitchen and reorganizing it, the goal is to always set yourself up to succeed. That means, when you grow your own vegetables in the garden this spring, choose the ones that are most likely to flourish. That way, you will have lush, leafy green vegetables to enjoy. Some of the easiest vegetables to grow in spring are beans, cherry tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, spinach, peas, and kale. While The Farmer’s Old Almanac describes these as some of the easiest vegetables to grow, it doesn’t hurt to give yourself a leg up either. Make sure to water plants regularly and fertilize your soil. Keep an eye out for mulch for sale now so that you can buy it and have it handy when it comes time to plant your garden.
Warmer Weather Calls for Outdoor Meals
If you need even more pointers about how to improve your diet and health, one of the most effective ways is to bring your meals outdoors.
Work with contractors to construct fully-stocked outdoor kitchens or talk to a deck builder about creating an open kitchen layout with double-doors and plenty of space on the deck to entertain and to eat.
When you eat outdoors with family and friends, you are more likely to take your time and enjoy the meal. You are more likely to carefully think about what you’re putting on your plate as well as everyone else’s. Plus, spending more time outdoors lowers your blood pressure, speeds up healing, and improves mood with relatively little effort on your part.
Keep Healthy Snacks Handy
Eating a healthier diet can be as simple as stowing fresh fruit to snack on prominently, on top of kitchen countertops. A study published in Health Education and Behavior revealed that homeowners who put fresh fruit on their counter have a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who do not.
Again, the top pointers about how to improve your diet and health this spring are also the most straightforward. When you are taking another look at your kitchen, make sure you see healthy snacks first.
Plan and Prepare Your Meals Ahead Of Time
Meal prep is a fad for a reason, so break out the Tupperware from your kitchen cabinet and get started. Set aside a block of time to prepare meals. Often, this works best if you set aside a few hours on the weekend. Make meal prep easier by doing everything in bulk. Slice fruits and veggies all at once. Cook a bunch of rice and vegetables (healthy sides), and then pair with a protein, like chicken. To vary your meals through the week, prepare the chicken with different marinades and spices.
Exercise As a Family
One of the most important things to keep in mind when considering how to improve your diet and health this spring is your family. Often, we only eat as healthy and act as healthy as the people around us. For that reason, it is wise to think about things to do with kids and try to incorporate a healthy diet and plenty of exercise as a family into that brainstorming session. Go on long walks and bike rides as a family, or invest in a pool to keep everyone cool and active this summer.
The same applies to eating a healthy diet. Cook and prepare meals with your children. That way, they are likely to take pride in what’s on the table and much less likely to turn their noses up at meals — including healthy ones.
Establish a Bedtime Routine and Regular Sleep Schedule
A regular sleep schedule is just as important as the layout and design of your kitchen. Complement your healthy eating habits by getting plenty of sleep. To do that, wind down with a bedtime routine. Brush your teeth and floss every night before bed to prevent cavities, and put devices on silent and keep them out of sight. Take a hot bath, read a book, or listen to some relaxing music. Whatever you do, make it routine. That will give your brain the cue that it is time to go to sleep.
Are you fretting about how to improve your diet and health this spring? Taking another look at your kitchen can be an enormous help. Set yourself up to succeed by displaying healthy foods and snacks most prominently, growing your own fruits and vegetables, and enjoying more meals outdoors.