Spring is the season to rejuvenate your home, your body, and your health. And just as we refresh our homes and our wardrobes after a long, cold winter, we can do the same for our diets. Here are 3 Quality of Lifehacks to get started on spring-cleaning your diet.
De-clutter your pantry, fridge and freezer.
Take an inventory of the foods in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer. Toss any leftover holiday goodies or spoiled foods, and review the date labels on packaged foods. Manufacturers provide dating on foods to help consumers and retailers decide when food is of best quality. Examples of commonly used phrases to describe quality dates include:
- A “Best if Used By/Before” indicates when a product will be of best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.
- A “Sell-By” date tells the store how long to display the product for sale for inventory management. It is not a safety date.
- A “Use-By” date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality, as determined by the manufacturer. It is not a safety date (except for when used on infant formula).
If you’re not sure about the quality of a food item in your kitchen, click before you toss. The FoodKeeper—an app developed by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, with Cornell University and the Food Marketing Institute—is a tool for smart food storage that can help you maximize the freshness and quality of foods and beverages in your kitchen—and help cut down on food waste. And keep in mind that date labels on foods are for quality and not safety, so be sure to follow proper handling, preparation and storage practices to ensure their peak quality and safety.
Organize your grocery list.
Once you’ve taken inventory and de-cluttered, use MyPlate as a guide to help you make healthier food choices as you restock your kitchen. Choosing a variety of fresh, frozen or canned foods from the 5 food groups—Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Protein Foods and Dairy—will give your diet a healthy spring makeover.
Freshen up your meals.
Ditch the rich comfort foods of winter for lighter spring fare, like salads, sandwiches and wraps. It’s also time to brighten up your plate with fresh spring produce. While many fruits and vegetables are available year round, some—like apricots, honeydew, strawberries, rhubarb, artichokes, asparagus, green beans, peas, snow peas and spinach—have their peak season in spring, making it the perfect time to freshen up your diet with color, flavor and nutrients.
Share in the comments section below how you will spring clean your diet.