Spring clean your health with these 5 simple swaps
Spring is a great season to think about ways that can improve your health. Much in the same way that we spring clean our houses, it’s the perfect time to think about letting go of unhealthy habits and making positive changes to your lifestyle.
Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to mean a complete overhaul of everything you’re currently doing. The key is to gradually make small changes that you can sustain over time.
Here are a few simple, healthy swaps you can make this spring for better health:
Swap fruit for fruit juice
According to the National Health and Medical Research Council, most Australians are only eating about half the daily recommended amount of fruit, but are drinking too much fruit juice. The reason that the whole fruit is more nutritious than its juice is that it has fewer calories and more fibre, helping you to stay within a healthy daily energy range and keep you fuller for longer. For example, a glass of orange juice contains the juice from roughly three pieces of fruit, meaning that it has three times the calories and sugar, and less than one-fifth of the fibre of a single orange.
Swap the stairs for the lift
Exercise is important for lots of different reasons: not only can it help you to stay within a healthy weight range, but it’s also important for a healthy heart, muscles and bones. Climbing the stairs is an incredibly effective way to burn excess energy — you can burn up to 500 calories for an hour! While you might not want to spend an entire hour running up and down the stairs, you would be surprised at how quickly time can add up over the course of the day. Making the swap from taking the lift to using the stairs is a simple but effective way to get more active — especially if you work in an office building or live in an apartment.
Swap homemade for takeaway
We all feel tempted by the convenience and deliciousness of takeaway food, and with lots of delivery services available, having dinner delivered to your front door is easier than ever. There’s nothing wrong with getting takeaway every now and then, but relying on it too often can make it difficult to stay in control of your daily energy intake. While there are healthier options, many takeout options tend to not have enough vegetables and be flavoured with fat, salt and sugar. Cooking your food at home means that you know exactly what the ingredients are, and can add plenty of vegetables and fresh produce. There’s no need to make it boring — get creative and try to recreate your favourite takeaway foods in a healthier way!
Swap a friendly walk for catching up for coffee
Maintaining a social life isn’t just good for our relationships, it can be good for our health too. Many of us tend to meet with our friends over a coffee or meal at a restaurant or cafe. At a time where many of us struggle to find the time to exercise, why not make friendy get-togethers a chance to get active? Going for a walk is an excellent way to exercise together, as you can still maintain a conversation, just like you would in your favourite cafe. Get outside, enjoy the fresh air and each others company and feel good knowing that you’re doing something positive for your health.
Swap flavoured water for soft drinks
Did you know that a single 375ml can of soft drink has up to 17 teaspoons of sugar? Not only do high-sugar drinks contain lots of calories, but they’re also bad for your teeth. The problem with drinking high-calorie drinks is that they don’t fill us up in the same way that food does, leaving us hungry and likely to consume too many calories over the course of a day, contributing to an unhealthy weight.
Plain water is always a good choice for staying hydrated, but many people find it difficult to drink enough each day, as they don’t enjoy the taste. You can buy sugar-free cordial, or better yet, try flavouring your water with fresh fruit, vegetables or even herbs. Keep it simple with sliced lemon or cucumber, or try combinations like strawberry, blueberry and basil.