Springtime is fast approaching in many parts of the world, and with it comes a desire to hit the refresh button. If your New Year’s resolutions have slowed or stalled, or you’re simply seeking a way to stay motivated, we suggest taking a good look at what and how you’re eating. Has extra sugar snuck into your diet? Have you fallen back on prepared, packaged, and processed foods a bit too much? Spring cleaning isn’t just for your closets, and these 8 tips can help clean up your eating habits.

#1 – Write It Down
Not sure where to start? Give yourself a few days or a week to create a food journal. Write down everything you’re eating and drinking, and don’t hold back. Try not to judge yourself here; this is research. You need to see what a typical day or week currently looks like so you can make thoughtful change – and it’s easier to see what needs cleaning up when it’s on paper. So make a note of what you’re doing now and then look for areas in which you can make manageable tweaks.

#2 – Swap Or Stop
We have a tendency to go “all or nothing” with our eating habits and frankly, extremes are one thing: extremely hard to maintain. Once you’ve taken the time to journal your current habits, you can build the plan for how to change and improve them. A good place to start is with beverages and snacks. For example, try swapping soda for sparkling water with slices of fresh fruit, or trade a bag of potato chips for a small handful of nuts. You might find a trend you can stop completely, such as eating dessert after every meal. Little edits here and there can add up, and once you’ve mastered a couple habits, start working on others.

#3 – Clean House
Go through your pantry, freezer, fridge (and, if alcohol is a major part of your life, cocktail/wine/beer cabinet) and really clean it up. Is the bag of Doritos giving you an evil grin? What about the chocolate bars you store in your freezer “just in case”? If you have “trigger food” in your house that causes you to spiral out of control, give it away, or physically move it so it’s no longer a taunting and tantalizing temptress. We know someone who keeps beer in their basement so it’s not cold and easy to grab right out of the fridge. That might be extreme for you – but really focus on keeping only the foods and beverages you know you’ll feel good about consuming.

#4 – Plan a Weekly Menu
So you’ve gotten rid of your old standbys – no longer can you whip up a box of mac and cheese product and call it dinner. Your next step? Grab a couple cookbooks, check out our Fuel archive, pull up some excellent cooking blogs and write down a few recipes and meal ideas that will get you through the next few days or week. Write down breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snack and sweets ideas. Don’t get too crazy – maybe plan to make a big omelette or batch of granola to eat three mornings over the course of the week. Or count on having big salads at lunch packed with healthy fats and proteins. Look up some recipes that can be made ahead like these Crockpot Turkey Meatballs that yield multiple meals.

#5 – Grocery Shop and Restock
Once you’ve made room for the good stuff, and have a menu plan for a few days or a week, go get those goodies! You’ve selected the recipes you want to make, the dishes you’re going to rely on for the next few days, so make a shopping list with those items and stick to it at the store. Oh, and these tips can help you make the most of your trip to the market.

#6 – Cook and Eat At Home More
Simply eating homemade meals that you’ve personally prepared can be a healthy game-changer. Restaurants and store-prepared foods often pack surplus salt and fat, plus portions are hard to control. When you make a meal yourself, you can decide which oil to use, and how much seasoning you want. Not to mention, you have creativity on your side and can use only fruits, vegetables, and flavors you know you love. We have lots of #fitfuel recipes to help you get started.

#7 – Get On Board with Water
Water is the #1 beverage to boost your health, so plan on drinking a lot of it from now on. But water doesn’t have to be boring! Add chunks of fresh fruit and veggies to make it more flavorful and interesting. One of our favorite versions is to cut up Meyer lemons and cucumbers for a “Spa Water” feel. Your friends will think you are so healthy. And fancy. (And guess what? You are!)

#8 – Relax and Remember This is Supposed to Be Good (Fun!) For You
There’s a saying that “if you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right.” We don’t know who said that, but it’s true. If implementing a healthy lifestyle becomes too stressful or you’re overwhelmed by the rules you’ve set for yourself, you won’t stick to it. Take baby steps to get to where you want to be. We are not talking about a diet that you’re going to do for 30 days, this is life-changing. So take time to investigate, learn and get familiar with what a healthy lifestyle looks like for you. We believe with a little planning and patience you can eat well in eight steps or less. And enjoy it!

Have you recently (re)committed to a healthier life? What are the changes you’re making to ensure you enjoy your new lifestyle?

Make it Happen,

– Team Fitstar

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