Spring Clean Your Eating and Your Pantry

Spring reminds me of renewal and rejuvenation.  It’s a great time of year to give everything a little tune-up, including your eating habits.  When spring arrives, it inspires me to freshen up my menu with foods from the Earth.

I love the idea of “spring cleaning” your eating habits and believe it or not, I think the “cleaning” starts with literally organizing your pantry and kitchen!

Read on to learn how to refresh your meals and add flavorful nutrition to everything you eat with quality foods and ingredients.

Spring Cleaning on TV in D.C. and Baltimore
I recently appeared on WBAL and Let’s Talk Live with fresh and fun food ideas. Watch both clips for my tips and check out the highlights below.

Featuring: McCormick spices flavor tips and zesty spring salad recipe, Sunkist citrus and tangy star ruby grapefruit avocado salsa recipe, overnight apple pie recipe with Grape nuts, almond milk, and chia seeds, Silk water conservation info and smoothie ideas, and my favorite KIND snacks.

Featuring: Delicious fruit & veggie Silk smoothie recipe, Sunkist mandarins and curry chicken mandarin and cashew salad, and Gulf shrimp and citrus grilled shrimp recipe.

Spring Clean Your Pantry

One of the first things you should do with your pantry is toss anything that’s expired, or if it’s growing something… get rid of it.  Also double check your spices to make sure they are still fresh and flavorful.

Herbs and spices are smart for, “spring cleaning”, because they help you add flavor to meals without adding salt, sugar or fat.  McCormick has an infographic on their Pinterest page that shows when you should consider tossing your spices and refresh them with new ones. To see if your spices are fresh:

  • Look for bright vibrant colors – faded color could mean the flavor is faded too. (use with chili powder spice)
  • Rub the spice in your hand, you want a nice aroma – weak aroma indicates it time to toss. (use with cinnamon spice)
  • Taste your spice – if it’s lacking flavor it’s past it’s prime. (use with garlic powder

Another “spring cleaning tip”:  I love reaching for garlic powder instead of the salt shaker – anywhere you would use salt, using garlic powder instead helps reduce sodium.  When you refresh your pantry with McCormick spices, it helps make healthier meal prep easy.

Lemon Pepper Spinach Salad Gimme Some Oven_Recipes_1007x545.ashx

Lemon Pepper Spinach Salad with Chicken Recipe. Photo credit: Ali Ebright from Gimme Some Oven.

I really love this Lemon Pepper Spinach Salad with Chicken. It’s a lighter, more refreshing dish than some of those wintery “comfort foods”.  It’s full of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and flavor with the McCormick “perfect pinch” lemon pepper spice.  McCormick has a whole line of salt-free Perfect Pinch products that make meal prep easy while reducing salt.

McCormick’s website, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook page are great resources for more information and recipes to add flavor this spring!

Stock up on Citrus Fruit

Make sure your kitchen has a fruit bowl to make it super-easy to reach for a healthy piece of fruit to snack on.  Adding fruits to meals and snacks is a simple and easy choice to instantly “spring clean” your eating.  Citrus is one of my favorite fruits to keep on-hand because it’s healthy, versatile and  delicious.  If you’ve been eating heavier foods in the colder weather, now is the time to lighten up the recipes.

Sunkist Sticker Co-op Logo (2)

Sunkist offers more than 40 varieties of premium quality, fresh citrus year-round including oranges, lemons, and grapefruit available in organic and specialty varieties. So there’s something for everyone!  Grapefruit and

img-grapefruit-varieties

Grapefruit provides antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and promotes heart health and healthy skin.  It also plays a supporting role in helping you with weight management due to its fiber and water content. You get a greater feeling of fullness and stronger appetite control when you add grapefruit to a day.

Add grapefruit to ANY meal, breakfast, for lunches – try grapefruit in wraps and salads. For dinner grapefruit is delicious with grilled foods.  This is an easy grapefruit salsa made with avocado, red pepper, green onion, and cilantro. It would go fabulous with eggs at breakfast or anything you make at lunch or dinner.  The vitamin C in the grapefruit will help keep the avocado green so it will stay pretty.

curry chicken and gold nugger cashew salad2Early spring is prime time for mandarins like Sunkist Smiles, a sweet, seedless snack that you and your kids will love,
and late season Gold Nugget mandarins, that is only available for a couple months.
Mandarins are easy to peel and separate into segments, making them great for lunch boxes or snacks.
With their incredibly juicy taste, they also brighten up salads and recipes. You can use them anywhere, any meal – even a very simple, nutritious dessert. This curry chicken mandarin cashew salad is an easy lunch you could make ahead and eat all week.

You can get this, and hundreds of other recipes, at Sunkist.com.  Their Pinterest and Facebook page also have loads of great information and recipes.

Power up with Plants

For a “spring clean” refrigerator, consider adding in Silk plant based beverages as a choice that’s healthy for your body AND the planet.

I love the idea of a morning smoothie.  This Get Your Greens On Smoothie is easy and a good opportunity to get some plant-based nutrition into your breakfast.  It’s loaded with kale, cucumber, and banans plus 1 cup of Silk unsweetened vanilla almond milk, which provides delicious, plant-based nourishment. You could also try Original Silk soymilk or coconutmilk in this recipe.  

Get Your Greens On Smoothie. Photo credit: http://silk.com/recipes/get-your-greens-smoothie

If you’re too short on time for a smoothie or like the idea of an option of “pour and go”, try Silk Almondmilk Protein + Fiber

Each serving contains five grams of protein and five grams of fiber that can help promote a feeling of fullness. This is available in Original and Vanilla.

You can also enjoy Silk with breakfast cereal or in smoothies where you would use dairy milk.  You can many delicious plant based recipes at Silk.com as well as Silk’s Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

April is also Earth Month – a timely reminder that we can do our part to conserve water.  Silk saves a lot of water. For every half gallon of Silk Original soymilk, almond milk, or coconut milk you swap for dairy milk, you save 500 gallons of water.  That’s like brushing your teeth 500 times, 20 showers, or 10 loads of laundry.

‘Spring’ Into Seafood

The Dietary Guidelines recommend Americans eat 8 ounces of seafood per week, including fish and shellfish. Look for wild-caught Gulf shrimp from the Gulf Coast at your grocery store. It’s a lean source of protein, which helps you feel full and satisfied at mealtime.

Gulf Shrimp

I like to make Boiled Gulf Shrimp in advance, keep it in the refrigerator, and then use it all week, adding it to salads, wraps and for dipping in hummus and guacamole as a snack!

I especially love using Gulf shrimp on the grill because it’s so easy and flavorful. This Grilled Citrus Gulf Shrimp is marinated in citrus juices, mint and lime for about 30 minutes – then toss it on the grill for just 3 minutes per side and you’re done. I like to serve it over brown rice, which is whole grain, and to save even more time, I use the microwave steamer bag of brown rice, then stir in some cilantro and serve the shrimp and rice with a side of grilled vegetables.

Visit Eat Gulf Seafood.com for recipes with delicious Gulf Coast seafood. And Check out Gulf Coast Seafood on Facebook and Twitter.

Refresh Your Cereal

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Overnight Apple Pie Breakfast Pudding

Cereal can be an easy morning breakfast, but many cereals are lacking whole grains and have added sugar that rival a candy bar. I love Grape Nuts for the “spring pantry” because it’s a classic cereal with crunchy whole grain and it’s filled with fiber.

Grape-Nuts recently did a national survey and found that more than 70% of Americans feel their meal plan needs a makeover, and 86% admit they replace meals with snacks.  In the spirit of healthy snacking, Grape Nuts offers recipes that integrate hearty whole grains into portable, delicious options.  This Overnight Apple Pie Breakfast Pudding, made with apple, almond milk, chia seeds, and cinnamon, offers a great morning protein boost.  It has apple, almond milk, chia seeds, and cinnamon.  You can get this recipe and more at GrapeNuts.com

Be KIND to Yourself

Snacks are a vital part of my day, and I always choose higher quality packaged foods when I need to grab something quick and easy (and recommend that my clients do the same).  “Spring clean” your snack drawer by choosing healthy snacks – I love KIND snacks because they have ingredients you can see and pronounce and they taste absolutely delicious.Kind Vanilla Blueberry

This Friday, April 11, is National Read Your Nutrition Label Day and it’s a good reminder to pay attention to what exactly is in your food.  Try  KIND Healthy Grains Clusters and KIND Healthy Grains Bars for a wholesome, tasty snack that you can feel good about; both have whole grains as the first ingredient – like oats, quinoa, and buckwheat.

Clusters are great for yogurt toppers, cereals, or just a crunchy snack on their own.  I adore the Vanilla Blueberry Clusters with flaxseed, which is high in fiber and contains healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Healthy Grains bars come in varieties like maple pumpkin seeds with sea salt and peanut butter dark chocolate.  KIND also has a flavorful “nuts and spices” bar that contains only 5g  or less of natural sugar – no “fake sugars” in these babies. They come in wonderful flavor combinations like Madagascar Vanilla Almond, Dark Chocolate Sea Salt, and Cashew Ginger Spice.

Both the Healthy Grains bars and Nuts and Spices bars are great for on-the-go healthy snacking at the office, in your car, or your gym bag.  I have at least one with me pretty much everywhere I go!

Check out the KIND website, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter for more info and fun facts.

Thanks for checking out my favorite ‘spring cleaning’ tips! I’d love to hear  what  some of your favorite ways to fine-tune your diet in the spring?

Disclaimer: I was compensated by McCormick, Silk, KIND Snacks, Post Cereal, Gulf Coast Seafood, and Sunkist to do the tv segment, but was not compensated to write this blog.

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