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A close up image of a bunch of sliced radishes.

With winter making way for sunshine and warmer temperatures, there’s something about this time of year that sets the stage for a fresh start. As we plan to spring clean our homes, with the outdoor weather and nature changes, it’s also a perfect time to reassess and spruce up your nutrition and fitness plan with some renewed energy and vigor.

Here are some great ways to reset your healthy habits this spring.

Spring Nutrition

While certain core aspects of healthy nutrition persist year-round (such as balancing meals with plenty of colorful produce, ample protein, and inclusion of healthy fat), with the increase in fresh fruits and veggies, spring is a great time to get some variety into the rotation.

Try Seasonal Produce

Adding some in-season produce not only freshens up the color and flavor of your eating routine, but it also provides a host of fresh and bioavailable nutrients to fuel a healthy metabolism. Here are some spring favorites to throw into the mix:

  • Strawberries: Try them sliced up with mixed greens and balsamic dressing or atop plain, full-fat yogurt for a satisfying dessert.
  • Spinach: Use it as a base to your favorite colorful salad, such as with crumbled goat cheese, pistachios, and roasted beets.
  • Garlic scapes: These low-FODMAP green-bean-like sprouts can be sautéed with olive oil and topped with lemon as a side, chopped finely into a basil pesto, or simmered down with butter to use atop fish or poultry.
  • Chives: Chop these finely to garnish soup or serve sprinkled on your favorite entrées to provide a bright pop of color and onion flavor.
  • Rhubarb: These celery-like stalks can be minced and cooked down with strawberries and your favorite healthier sweetener (such as granulated monk fruit or erythritol) and stirred into oatmeal.
  • Radishes: Sliced thinly, this vegetable provides a pepper and bold flavor that can be tasty when served on a veggie tray or with cottage cheese.
  • Collard greens: Serve up these dark leafy greens as a perfect, low-carb, and versatile wrap replacement. Simply trim the hard stem and blanch in boiling water for a minute before plunging in an ice bath. Pat dry and roll with turkey, cucumbers, and hummus or your choice of fillings.

Consider a Spring Reset

I’ve always been a big fan of doing a 14-day detox reset as the seasons change. For my clients, it’s served as a straightforward and no-nonsense guide to refocus on what we all ought be eating regularly anyway: fresh and frozen organic produce, high-quality meat and fish options, satisfying healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, olive oil, and avocado, and complex, naturally gluten-free carbohydrate sources like root vegetables, berries, and quinoa.

If you’ve never considered it before, it’s worth checking out. It’s not as intimidating as it might seem, and most people coming out the other side of it enjoy a five- to seven-pound fat loss, better sleep, more energy, and an improved complexion. You can check it out here: Life Time D.TOX Program.

Hydrate

If anything, your water needs will increase during this season. A typical rule of thumb is to shoot for half of your goal body weight in ounces for optimal daily intake. But the more active we are and the more we sweat (even if we’re just lying by the pool!), the more our need for water increases.

Bring a little spring to your water by adding some fruit or veggies for infused flavor. Keep a pitcher of filtered water in your refrigerator, and add raspberry and lime or pineapple and mint. Not only does it make it look more appealing, it also gives a great fresh, new taste to encourage optimal intake.

Spring Supplements

There are everyday supplements that most of us would do best to take throughout the year, but a new season is an opportune time to look at what you are taking and see if you are missing anything.

Continue your multivitamin and fish oil. Although it sounds simplistic, the metabolic and health benefits of high-quality vitamins and minerals, along with omega-3s, have far-reaching positive impacts. When prioritizing the most bang for your buck, I always start my clients with these two to make sure they’re set up for success.

Caveat: quality is everything. Be sure your quality multivitamins are capsule-based and have the most bioavailable nutrient forms, and ensure your fish oil is from small fish and in the triglyceride form as well.

Add in a shake habit. There’s something about spring that makes lighter fare more appetizing, and replacing a meal (often a refined carbohydrate breakfast, such as cereal, English muffins, or toast) with a high-quality, fiber-rich protein shake can be both convenient and refreshing. If you use in-season fruit and veggies (such as strawberries and spinach), the cool sweetness is a satisfying, easy way to keep your nutrition on-track.

The key with a daily shake, however, is to make sure you’re including a top quality protein powder and healthy fat, such as nut butter, to stabilize blood sugar. Simply mixing fruits and veggies together provides vitamins and minerals, but alone can cause blood sugar to fluctuate too erratically. Find some recipes to try here: el.lifetime.life/recipe-meal/shakes

Boost your immune support. With the environment changing, we’re exposed to new allergens and bugs. To balance your body’s defense systems, be sure to optimize your vitamin D status, increase your vitamin C intake, support your gut with probiotics, and ideally pair any extra zinc with the polyphenol quercetin to help reduce the histamine response to common allergens this time of year. This type of support is mindfully provided together in the Life Time Immune Stack.

Spring Exercise

When the weather breaks, we’re all tempted to skip the club and head outside — sometimes to a patio for happy hour. If we aren’t careful, our structured exercise pattern from the colder months can take a tumble.

This time of year, it’s crucial to come up with a plan that suits your preferences with the seasonal change while still keeping you on track. Here are some trainer-tested tips to help:

Swap out one or two weekly workouts for the outdoors. In most cases, your cardio days would be easiest. It’s much more appealing to head outside for your usual run than continue to pound away on the treadmill.

In order to ensure you’re not reducing your frequency of strength training for more outdoor cardio, it’s best to connect with a fitness professional to help you strategize. They can help you by providing some bodyweight programming or utilization of things you might have in your backyard, such as monkey bars or a wheelbarrow, to provide added resistance.

Focus on your steps. Even the most dedicated club-goers sometimes have trouble fitting in adequate movement outside of their workouts. If you don’t already, consider getting a step tracker and heading outside daily with the family to get some extra steps in. If possible, aim for a daily goal of 10,000 steps outside of structured exercise.

Gamify your movement. Now is the perfect time to try new ways to move and challenge your body. Never tried tennis? Take a lesson. Want to involve the kids? Play a family game of kickball at the local park. Exercise doesn’t always have to be formal.

With spring in the air, take stock of your current habits and decide which ones might be feeling stale and in need of a new approach. Whether you implement one or all of the tips above, you’ll be ready to move forward with your healthy way of life plan without any seasonal slump.

Keep the conversation going.

Leave a comment, ask a question, or see what others are talking about in the Life Time Training Facebook group.

samantha-mckinney-life-time-training-registered-dietician
Samantha McKinney, RD, CPT

Samantha McKinney has been a dietitian, trainer and coach for over 10 years. At first, her interests and experience were in a highly clinical setting in the medical field, which ended up laying a strong foundation for understanding metabolism as her true passion evolved: wellness and prevention. She hasn’t looked back since and has had the honor of supporting Life Time’s members and nutrition programs in various roles since 2011.

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