(NC) - While the winter months have left us feeling sluggish, Canadians are itching to shed some layers and get outside. As the cold temperatures ease up, we're ready to tackle our gardens, clean up our garages and enjoy some fresh spring air.
"Whether you're a spring chick or just want to feel like one, a new season is a perfect time to boost your activity levels," says Sue Mah, Registered Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist. "But keep in mind, proper nutrition is key to supporting an active lifestyle and your overall health."
To help jump-start your body in time for spring and summer, Sue offers the following tips:
Remember the basics: Include a healthy assortment of whole grains, colourful fruits and vegetables, and protein in your diet every day to keep energy levels high.
Be selective with your fats: Opt for the healthier monounsaturated and polyunsaturated types of fat in foods like salmon and herring, olive and canola oils, and peanuts and peanut butter. Peanuts are a great source of protein, are naturally cholesterol-free and provide plenty of fibre, folic acid, magnesium, zinc and potassium.
Refresh yourself: Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink. By that time, you're already dehydrated. Carry water with you, if possible, while you're out and about. Fruits and vegetables also have a high water content and most are low in calories.
Add a little protein to your meals and snacks: Protein-containing foods such as nuts and cheese will leave you feeling full longer than carbohydrate-based snacks like rice cakes or crackers – helping with weight control and giving you more time between meals to enjoy activities like walking or hiking.
Stretch it out: Ease into spring by taking the time to stretch before and after activities. This helps to minimize stress and injuries to your body.
Listen to your body: While healthy levels of daily activity can help you keep fit and healthy, rest is just as important. Take time out to relax with a good book, catch a nap, call an old friend or just unwind.