Spring has officially sprung here in South Carolina. While we are all familiar with the term “spring cleaning” when it comes to our homes, there is another aspect of our lives that could use some decluttering: our eating habits. By implementing these simple nutrition tips, we not only improve our health but also improve the environment and our communities.
First, we should start by inspecting the items in our fridge, freezer, and pantry. Go through and throw out any expired foods and items that do not align with your nutrition goals. Then, the next time you are shopping, opt to refill your shelves with more lean meats, fresh produce, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. From there, rearrange your kitchen to keep these healthier foods where you can see them easily, so that you will be more likely to reach for them when hunger strikes.
Another impactful nutrition change that we can make this season is buying more fruits and vegetables, locally and seasonally. It’s no secret that eating lots of fruits and vegetables is beneficial for our health. They can help lower our risk for certain diseases and cancers, improve digestion, help us reach or maintain a healthy weight, and so much more. Purchasing produce from local farmers helps support our communities while being more friendly to our wallets. Buying local is beneficial for our environment as it limits the amount of transportation required to get produce on our tables. Asparagus, mushrooms, potatoes, strawberries, and salad greens are just some of the many fruits and vegetables currently in season in the Palmetto State.
One last simple adjustment we can make to our eating habits is to add flavor using fresh herbs and spices. Herbs and spices can make a huge impact on the taste of our foods without adding extra calories, sodium, and fat. Try adding some oregano or parsley to pasta sauces or sprinkling cilantro, chili powder, and cumin in your salsas or bean dips. Herbs can also be used to create a refreshing substitute for sugary drinks when mixed with fruit and water.
Challenge yourself by implementing at least one of these simple changes in your household as the weather warms up. To learn more about healthy eating, you can also participate in other programs offered by the Clemson Extension Rural Health and Nutrition Team. One example is our free diabetes education and support group, Health Extension for Diabetes. This program helps you learn more about diabetes and provides the necessary support and skills to improve your diabetes self-management, including healthy eating. Please see Clemson’s Health Extension for Diabetes program to register. For more information, contact the Rural Health and Nutrition team.
- “Buying Locally and Seasonally: How it Benefits the Consumer.” The University of Maine. 9 Nov. 2021. Web. 10 March 2023.
- Cavuto, Katie. “7 Tips for Boosting Flavor Without Salt.” Diabetes Food Hub. American Diabetes Association. n. d. Web. 10 March 2023.
- Weaver, Rosemary. “Spring Clean Your Diet!” NorthShore University Health System. The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. 4 March 2022. Web. 10 March 2023.