spring

Spring Chicken

Spring is such a great time of year!

Written by: Kelly Atyeo, B.A.Sc., M.H.Sc., P.H.Ec.

The snow is melting away and you feel revitalized and ready for the warm weather ahead. Embrace the feeling of vitality and put a spring in your step to get fit for the months ahead and onwards!   

Food

A huge aspect of getting fit involves following a healthy, balanced diet. Many experts recommend the 80/20 rule – eating healthier options 80% of your week and indulging (in moderation) 20% of the time.1 For a foodie or social butterfly – that is often a good way to ensure you’re not missing out on the occasional dinner or patio party…but you’re still focusing on your diet.

Try to focus on clean eating during the week. Because you’re on a routine, you may find it easier to have a more structured eating plan:

  • Focus on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables at each meal. Because of their high fibre content, vegetables are a great way to fill up without a lot of calories. Along with water, fruit is a good way to hydrate you in the warmer months, provide electrolytes and energy instead of drinking sugar-sweetened beverages.

  • Avoid processed and packaged foods. This will really help you cut back on added sugar, fat and sodium.1
  • Power up the protein: Include a protein source at each meal. This will help you stay full for longer and also supports the growth of your muscles (this way to the beach!) and the health of your hair, skin and nails.2 Choose lean meats like chicken and fish that offer less fat and calories. Also – don’t ignore plant-based protein sources such as hemp hearts, quinoa and tofu/soy.

Take advantage of vegetables that are in season to add to your recipes.  March, April and May bring a variety of options like asparagus, artichokes, snow peas and many leafy green options like spinach, spring baby lettuce and mustard greens!3  All of these go great with Chicken!   

Try these delicious salads that are great for lunch/dinner during the spring and summer months:

Fitness 

Make fitness fun in the spring and summer months. Maintaining a physical activity routine not only helps you feel better but also reduces your risk profile for a variety of diseases including osteoporosis, heart disease, certain types of cancer, hypertension and diabetes.4,5 If going to a gym is not your style, use the warmer months to walk, walk, walk and soak up that vitamin D or switch up your workout routine.

  • Attend a weekly boot camp with coworkers or friends in the park
  • Explore some new hiking or jogging trails in your area 
  • Sign up for summer/fall events that require training: 5 km races, marathons, triathlons and bike rides are always taking place around cities in the spring/fall.  And if running is not your thing, try something new like dragon boating!  

Fashion 

If you’re going to be a Spring Chicken …you need to look like one! ☺ Thinking about fashion doesn’t need to mean aspiring to look like a runway model – or wearing the clothes you see them strutting down a catwalk in Paris! However, without wearing 10 layers to keep the cold away, the warmer months allow you to show off your own unique style.   

Treat yourself to a summer workout outfit that you’ll want to wear to do a fitness class or a jog. Look good by wearing clothes that make you feel beautiful and confident!

Also – take time to do a little spring-cleaning. Go through your wardrobe and donate clothes that no longer fit or you don’t want to wear anymore. Starting spring with a fresh look will help you carry your vibrant self through to fall! 

References:

  1. Welland, D. (2009) Living the Clean Life. Retrieved March 9, 2015, from www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/111609p42.shtml
  2. Eat Right Ontario. (2015). Introduction to Protein. Retrieved March 16, 2015, from www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Protein/Introduction-to-protein.aspx
  3. Produce for Better Health Foundation. (2015). What’s in Season? Spring. Retrieved March 26, 2015, from http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/whats-in-season-spring
  4. Medicin.net. (2004). Health Benefits of Physical Activity. Retrieved March 16, 2015, from www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=10074
  5. National Cancer Institute. (2009). Physical Activity and Cancer. Retrieved March 16, 2015, from www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/causes-prevention/risk/weight-activity/physical-activity-fact-sheet

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