Diet & Weight Loss
These easy but high-impact food swaps will boost your energy, improve your health, and even help you shed a few winter pounds.
Swap pasta for zucchini noodles
It’s time to break out that spiralizer that’s been collecting dust in your cabinet. “With the change in season, zucchinis are about to be abundant in gardens, farmers markets, and grocery stores,” says Jennifer Kanikula, RD. “Not only are they cheap, they’re extremely healthy and when eaten in place of pasta, add a plethora of nutrition benefits to your meal. Zucchini is very low in calories and high in nutrients and antioxidants, whereas refined grains (white pasta) are low in nutrients, high in carbohydrates, sugar, and subsequently, high in calories.” If weight loss is a goal, check out these 13 weight-loss foods to lose weight fast.
Make water more appealing
Take a break from soda, sweetened iced teas, lemonade, and other high-calorie beverages for some serious calorie savings. “Trade sugary beverages for water (still or sparkling) with a squeeze of citrus,” suggests Barbie Boules, RD, a certified health coach. You can also try making fruit ice cubes to jazz things up. “Simply puree fresh fruit in a blender and freeze in ice cube trays,” Boules says. “This is my number one tip for all of my clients. If you’re drinking three calorie-laden beverages a day (soda, smoothies, juice, lattes) and switch to water, it could mean losing a pound a week!”
Skip energy bars in favor of real food
You might think a protein or energy bar is a healthy way to feed your snack craving, but nutrition experts recommend skipping them in favor of actual food. “Most energy and granola bars are made up of heavily processed ingredients and added sugars, which can lead to GI discomfort and even increased appetite shortly after consuming,” says Sydney Greene, RD, a nutritionist with Middleberg Nutrition. “I advise my clients to keep whole produce items such as apples, oranges, or carrots in their fridge for an easy grab-and-go option. I like to pair one of these foods with an easy-to-transport protein option, such as a handful of nuts, for a nutritionally complete snack.” In addition to healthy eating, there are plenty of other ways spring cleaning can boost your health.