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By Kysha Rooks
NC Cooperative Extension

While most people are focused on spring cleaning their homes, it’s also a great time to take stock of your eating habits and make improvements. Much like decluttering your closet, eliminating bad food oddities can help you feel lighter, healthier, and more energized. Here are five tips for fine-tuning your diet:

1. Eat more whole foods

Whole foods are unprocessed and unrefined, and they contain all the nutrients your body needs to function properly. Fill your plate with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and white meat sources for a protein diet. Avoid processed foods as much as possible.

2. Reduce sugar intake

Nutrition experts often associate sugar consumption with many health complications, including obesity and diabetes. When trying to eat healthy, it’s important to limit sugar intake, including sugary drinks and sugary snacks. Instead of reaching for a candy bar or soda, you can try taking a brisk walk outside for some natural energy.

3. Exercise regularly

Regular exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy weight, reducing your risk of chronic disease and improving your overall health. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each day.

4. Organize your kitchen

Having a well-organized kitchen makes it easier to eat healthy meals at home. When your kitchen is organized, you’re less likely to hunt for unhealthy ready meals and more likely to cook healthy meals from scratch.

5. Cook more at home

Cooking at home gives you more control over what goes into your food and how it’s prepared. Plus, it’s often cheaper than eating out or ordering takeout. Devote some time each week to meal prep so you have healthy meals ready when hunger strikes.

Kysha Rooks is the Educator for the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and Extension Program Assistant with Rowan County Extension.