Overhauling your diet this spring doesn’t have to mean strict detoxes and juice cleanses – Dr Gilly Hendrie of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet is here to explain how to hit reset in a healthy way you’ll actually enjoy.
Spring has officially sprung, and you can feel it in the increasingly warm air – and as we all know, the transitional season is a great time to hit ‘reset’ on your life and reassess where your lifestyle is at.
When it comes to refreshing your diet though, it can be difficult to know where to start – and some of the “spring detox” options on offer are pretty intimidating, and might put you off the idea altogether.
But as Dr Gilly Hendrie of the CSIRO explains, overhauling your nutritional intake this spring doesn’t have to be super restrictive or dull. She’s provided her top tips for a successful spring refresher, plus her four steps to effective weight loss to get you started.
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Eat a rainbow
Adding colour and vibrancy to your diet, particularly fruits and vegetables, helps us gain the nutrients that our bodies need.
It can be as simple as trying to have three different types of vegetables on our plate every night for dinner. Our research has shown this can significantly increase your overall vegetable intake and help with weight loss. With the warmer months upon us – and some great seasonal vegetables available – vibrant salads are a great option.
Easy on the junk food
CSIRO Healthy Diet Score research shows we eat twice as much discretionary foods as we should. We know they taste good, but these foods have high levels of energy/kilojoules but not many beneficial nutrients.
Three ways to cut back your junk food intake are by eating smaller portions, eating them less often, and eating fewer and different types of discretionary foods.
Select healthy alternatives to get your sweet and savoury fixes, such as pistachio nuts, oranges, miso soup, natural popcorn, dark chocolate and berries.
Think about the drink
Our bodies don’t detect feelings of fullness from liquids in the same way as it does from solid foods. Unlike liquids, foods take longer to chew, swallow and digest, and then they tell our stomach we are full.
It is easy to forget that beverages such as alcohol, soft drinks, fruit juices, energy drinks, large coffees and even things like kombucha, all contain kilojoules and often a lot of sugar. These can add up over the day. Make sure to track your non-water drinks across a day, and keep your intake low so your body has an opportunity to fill up on nutrients, not fluid.
Add texture and flavour
Rein in the fatty oils, butter and rich sauces this spring, and focus on healthy ways to supercharge your food’s flavour.
Add excitement to your meals through fresh herbs and spices like garlic, ginger, coriander and basil. Capers and olives can also bring a meal to life and work really well with salads and steamed or roasted vegetables.
Increase texture and crunch through fresh vegetables, seeds and nuts.
Make snacks interesting
Keeping a routine is essential to losing weight, and skipping meals or going hungry may only make things worse.
Avoid appetite peaks and troughs with regular and nutrient-rich snacks such as a slice of pear and cheese, handful of nuts, carrot sticks or a hard boiled egg to kick the hunger.
Four steps to effective weight loss
- Choose a scientifically proven weight loss program like the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet.
- Prepare before you start. Allow about two days to prepare for a weight loss program by gathering necessary equipment such as scales, shopping for groceries and prepping meals.
- Put maximum effort into the first three weeks by following your weight loss program instructions closely and being as diligent as possible.
- Check in often. Review meal plans and your progress regularly. Also signing up to a community group such as the CSIRO Facebook page can help with motivation and overall support.
Dr Gilly Hendrie is a Research Scientist with expertise in diet, nutrition and obesity prevention. She has a Bachelor of Science (Nutrition and Dietetics – Honours) and is one of the minds behind the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet.