TODAY | April 16, 2012
AL ROKER reporting: This morning on SMALL STEPS TO A HEALTHIER YOU , spring cleaning your diet. Now this is traditionally the season where we say out with the old, in with the new, that's certainly true for food choices. Here to get us started is registered dietitian Keri Glassman , the author of "Slim Calm Sexy Diet." Good to see you, Keri .
Ms. KERI GLASSMAN (Registered Dietitian): Nice to see you.
ROKER: So we're starting -- getting rid of the old, start with the new, some healthier eating.
Ms. GLASSMAN: And these are certainly small steps . I'm going to tell you super simple steps you can take to help you clean up your diet this spring and you'll automatically be cleaning out some of the old habits.
ROKER: OK, let's get started. First of all, a lot of people say, 'I want to eat fresh but I want to eat well but it's so expensive,' and you say frozen items are really a great way to, A, stretch your budget, and B, get some really good produce.
Ms. GLASSMAN: They are. And that fresh spring produce is about to be in full effect, and you should use that as motivation to get in the vegetables at every lunch and every dinner and to get in a serving of fruit. But you absolutely should always have frozen produce on hand. Frozen produce is picked at peak ripeness...
Ms. GLASSMAN: ...so it actually has even more nutritional value than some of the fresh produce you might be buying. And of course it's often more affordable and it's super convenient.
Ms. GLASSMAN: No excuses not to have it on hand, to throw some berries in a smoothie or to put together a fast, easy dinner.
ROKER: I was going to say, so this goes for fruit as well?
Ms. GLASSMAN: Exactly.
ROKER: OK. Now let's -- also, when do we -- when do we start to look at, say, whole meat and what you call meaty vegetables? I like -- what are meaty vegetables?
Ms. GLASSMAN: OK. So what I like to tell people in the spring is use this as an opportunity to up the nutritional value of your sandwich by choosing whole meats. Think chicken, turkey, even lean steak, and pork tenderloin. Slice it on your own at home, you'll reduce your sodium and the preservatives that you're consuming.
Ms. GLASSMAN: Now it does take a little bit more time but it is also more affordable and you can also make more the night before...
Ms. GLASSMAN: ...or just use leftovers. So go for that. And also, swap in a meaty vegetable, lunch, at least once time per week. What I mean is using something like a portobello mushroom as the main -- the all-star of your sandwich.
Ms. GLASSMAN: Or even eggplant.
ROKER: OK. Now we talk about liquids, and you say you always want to be drinking fluids. You have got water, milk, tea, coffee. I'm surprised -- coffee on the list.
Ms. GLASSMAN: Exactly. Because you do not need your pantry and your fridge to be loaded with hundreds of types of beverages. You really need your faucet.
Ms. GLASSMAN: Use the spring as a time to be motivated to drink your eight glasses of water. And flavor it with lemon slices, cucumber or even a few pieces of fruit in there to absorb the flavor. But drink those eight glasses of water to improve your energy levels. Also, you boost your metabolism slightly. Coffee and tea, if you've been drinking it throughout the winter, make it cold for the spring.
Ms. GLASSMAN: And you do get antioxidant value from the tea and the coffee, just add a little bit of milk and herbs or spices like basil or mint to the tea and sliced fruit as well for flavor in the tea. You don't need anything else.
ROKER: And when you're talking milk you mean low fat or skim milk.
Ms. GLASSMAN: Low fat and skim. There even can be a place for whole milk but you do really need to watch your portions there. But of course milk you will get your calcium and your protein.
Ms. GLASSMAN: But that's all really you need as far as beverages go. The bar, that's a whole other story, we'll save that for another segment.
Ms. GLASSMAN: But as far as your beverages go, that's really all you need, milk, water, tea and coffee.
ROKER: Now what about -- you know, we always hear eat foods with color in them...
Ms. GLASSMAN: Mm-hmm.
ROKER: ...but you say you got -- you got to be careful as to how the food got the color in the first place .
Ms. GLASSMAN: Absolutely. Well, we know whole foods, anything without any packages or any ingredients or labels to read are going to be the best. But I'm a registered dietitian, I still buy things out of a package sometimes, it's impossible to totally avoid. When you do buy things out of a package, look for natural color.
Ms. GLASSMAN: Annatto extract, caramel color , grape skin extract, dehydrated beets, that's all you should really see as far as colors go in the foods that you're buying in packages. And...
ROKER: And then what -- oh -- I'm sorry.
Ms. GLASSMAN: No, I was going to say -- and of course, though, try to avoid packages as much as you can.
ROKER: Right. And then once you've finish cooking, you say when it comes to cleaning, you want natural kind of gentle cleansers.
Ms. GLASSMAN: Absolutely. Try -- we're cleaning out our bodies, we're cleaning up our bodies, try to also clean up your kitchen naturally and in a more affordable way with things you might have on hand, use lemon to decrease odor on knives and even put a little bit in the disposal if you have one, that'll help reduce odors as well. And then use things like olive oil with lemon to even clean furniture.
Ms. GLASSMAN: And then water with white wine vinegar and lemon juice also can act as a natural glass and surface cleaner.
ROKER: All right.
Ms. GLASSMAN: Yeah.
ROKER: Keri Glassman , thanks so much.
Ms. GLASSMAN: You're so welcome.
ROKER: A great way to get us started for our spring cleaning of our diet. Thank you.