5 Tips to Help Spring Clean Your Diet

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Chipotle Pepper Dip

It is that time of year when we have the broom and dust pan out to do a little spring cleaning, but have you ever thought about spring cleaning your diet? We can get busy and our health can sometimes fall down on our priority list, but with a fresh season can some a fresh start! Follow these 5 tips from the St. Louis District Dairy Council to get your diet back on track.

Tip #1

Strive to reach the recommendations.

3 Servings of Dairy Everyday

The 2012 Dietary Guidelines for Americas that were released in back in January support the science and research that shows that getting three servings of low fat and fat free dairy products as part of a healthy diet can help reduce the risk of heart disease, type two diabetes, and high blood pressure. Getting in our three servings of dairy a day can also help promote good teeth and bone health. Getting our three every day can be as easy as adding a serving of low fat milk to that morning coffee, adding low fat cheese to your salad, or even having a glass of chocolate milk for a mid-afternoon chocolate fix.

Whole Grains

The new Dietary Guidelines recommend that you make half of your grains whole grain. By switching to 100% whole wheat breads and pastas, you can add fiber to your diet.

Fruits and Vegetables

We want to make sure that we are making at least half of our plate full of fruits and vegetables. By doing this we can add extra vitamins, minerals and fiber to our day! Try to buy from local farmers markets to get some tasty, in season produce.

Protein

Go lean with protein. Vary your protein choices by adding nuts and beans to meals and snacks. Also, to mix it up a bit, try adding fish to your weekly dinner menus.

Tip #2

Eat Breakfast!

Cleaning up your diet can be as easy as adding breakfast to your morning routine. Breakfast is an important time of the day to add some nutrients that you may be skipping! By paring a glass of milk with a bowl of cereal and fruit will add calcium, potassium, protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber to your day.

Easy to please yogurt parfait

Ingredients

*1/2 cup lightly drained canned peach slices
*1 cup vanilla flavored yogurt
*1/2 cup raisin-bran cereal

Layer peaches, yogurt and cereal in a glass or cup. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Nutrition Facts: Calories-360, Fat- 3.5 g, Protein- 15 g, Calcium 45 % dairy value

Tip #3

Make the Swap!

Use simple swaps to save calories and add nutrients. By making the switch from whole milk to skim milk could save you almost 80 calories and 9 grams of fat without losing any of the nutrients. Also, try switching to a reduced fat cheese; you can still get a great source of Calcium and Protein without the added fat. Another trick that I like to use is to swap sour cream with low fat or fat free plain yogurt in dip recipes. It is an easy way to add nutrients and cut fat.

Chipotle Pepper Dip

Ingredients

*1 teaspoon Chipotle pepper sauce
*2 (8-ounce) containers low-fat plain yogurt
*1/2 cup thick and chunky salsa
*2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
*1/4 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
*Assorted cut vegetables or corn chips

Combine all ingredients in medium bowl; mix until blended and refrigerate. Add shredded cheese. Serve with assorted cut vegetables or corn chips.

Nutrition Facts: Calories- 90, Fat- 3 g, Protein- 6 g, Calcium 20 % daily value

Tip #4

Add a snack!

The last thing you want to feel when you start to change something about your diet is HUNGRY. This is why it is so important to make sure you include snacks as part of your day! Ditch the chips and try fruit and yogurt, a cheese stick with whole grain crackers, or even just a glass of chocolate milk to your afternoon. These snacks can help to fill you up while adding much needed nutrients to your day. When choosing a snack you want to shoot for 150-200 calories and make sure that it is a good source of protein, calcium, and other nutrients. You will feel full, satisfied, and ready to take on the afternoon.

Tip #5

Exercise!

Exercise is just as important as eating a healthy diet. Making sure we are striving for the Dietary Guidelines for American's recommendation of 2 hours and 30 min of physical activity a week for 18-64 years and 60 or more minutes a day for 6-17 years, is curtail to weight maintenance and heart health. Adding physical activity to your day can be as easy as parking farther away from work and walking, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, doing crunches and other exercises during commercials on TV, and playing outside with the kids.

Remember these 5 tips to help spring clean your diet! For more information, check out www.stldairycouncil.org or contact Kelly Maher with the St. Louis Dairy Council: (314)835-9668, kmaher@stldairycouncil.org. Also, be sure to check us out on Facebook!

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