Spring can be a very short season in parts of Canada and in parts of the country the sun barely comes out for months. So when the sun is out, you have to take advantage to kick start your healthy habits! Whether it's switching up your activities or the way you prep your dinner, use the extra hours of sunlight to energize and inspire your healthy living regimen. Here are some ideas to get you started and hey, who knows, you might even have some fun while you're at it!
Get to a Farmers' Market
Not only is this is a great opportunity to support local farmers, there are many nutritional advantages to the seasonal fare offered. The fruits and veggies are usually freshly picked, at the peak of their ripeness to provide optimal nutritional content. To find out the best produce to buy when, you can talk to the local growers on site, or there are lots of apps that help you know when the peak season for your favorite fruits or vegetables is spring and summer.
Shopping at a farmers' market is also a great opportunity to try something new. The vendors are passionate about food and proud of their product so don't be afraid to ask for tips on how to prepare a new vegetable or how to use a new herb for a healthy dose of flavour.
Get Back to Grilling
There really is nothing like charred grill marks on a juicy steak or fresh zucchini. Not only is barbequing quick and leaves you with little or no dishes, it is also one of the healthiest ways to cook. For one, it allows excess fat to drip off, reducing the amount of saturated fat in the meats that you're cooking. Also, barbequing requires minimal cooking oil or heavy sauces. If you're looking for something to spice up your next BBQ a bit, try some citrus or fresh herbs.
To take advantage of this healthy way of cooking all year round, place meat or veggies right on the metal racks in your oven. Be sure to put a foil-lined pan on the rack beneath to catch the drippings so you don't leave a mess in your oven.
Lighten up Your Meals
As the weather heats up, the desire for comfort food diminishes and colder dishes seem a bit more appealing. Salad sound boring? Make it a complete meal by including a source of lean protein like chicken or fish, a healthy source of fat like nuts, seeds or avocado, some whole grains like quinoa or barley, and as many different veggies as you want! A favorite combo of mine is mixed greens with arugula topped with salmon, avocado, red pepper and orange slices. Top that off with some cooked quinoa and you've got yourself a healthy, well-balanced meal!
With the longer days, there really is no excuse not to get out there and get moving. Lace up and go for a walk before work or jump on your bike and enjoy the scenes in your city. Need a bit of extra motivation? Join a running group put on by your local running store or sign up for an outdoor boot camp. Also, check out your local area for fun and free activities from organizations such as ParticipACTION, which recently received a $1 million grant from Coca-Cola Canada to keep programs like broomball in Bais Sainte-Ann, dancing in Dartmouth, and playing tag in Toronto for all to enjoy. Start by calling your local community centre or searching online for something inspiring in your area!
By following these simple steps, you can enter the new season lighter, more active and inspired to follow a healthy living regimen. For more health tips, visit www.lindsayjang.com.
Registered Dietitian, Lindsay Jang, consults for food and beverage companies including The Coca-Cola Company.