March is National Nutrition Month! With spring arriving, it's a great time to celebrate by 'Spring Cleaning' your eating habits. A great place to start is giving your refrigerator a makeover. The first thing you want to do is physically clean out the fridge. Take everything out and thoroughly clean your shelves & drawers. Inspect all items, toss anything that has expired and place the remaining items back in the fridge!
The key to spring cleaning your diet is to keep healthy food handy. Stock your fridge with healthy easily accessible items such as (fresh or frozen) fruits and vegetables. Make sure to keep staples such as lean meats/protein-rich foods, eggs, low fat dairy products, low fat salad dressings, mustard and herbs.
When stocking the fridge, remember to think smart when it comes to your beverage choices. Water is always going to be the best choice for staying hydrated. However, if you're looking for something with a little bit of flavor, choose 100% fruit juice to satisfy your cravings. If you are trying to shed a few pounds, low or no calorie beverages are a better choice. Try plain or sparkling water with a dash of fruit juice (pineapples or oranges are great choices). Low calorie iced tea or lemonade is another choice. If soda is your drink of choice, portion control is of utmost importance. Diet sodas are a sensible way to save on calories, but if diet doesn't tickle your fancy, practice portion control with smaller serving sizes such as Coca-Cola’s mini can.
Don't forget that a well stocked pantry is equally as important when it comes to throwing together quick and healthy meals.
Just remember your goal is not to eat perfectly, you are only human. It's about having more good days than bad days and eating well the majority of the time. This is achieved by consuming the foods and beverages you enjoy in a sensible and balanced fashion - also referred to as moderation. It's truly about portion control. You can have anything you like as long as you don't over indulge. Happy clean eating!
Stacey Matthews-Woodson is a registered dietitian living in Philadelphia and consultant to the food and beverage industry including the Coca-Cola Company.