How to: Spring Clean Your Diet!

05.21.2012 / Blog Posts Health and Wellness

AP Photo

For the past few weeks, the Redskins team nutritionist has led WOW members through five nutrition principles - especially important for Redskins players participating in the off-season strength and conditioning program. For a quick review, the five principles are:

- Eat breakfast
- Refuel 5-6 times per day
- Consume a post-workout recovery beverage/snack
- Eat a "clean" diet

- Stay hydrated

Now onto principle four! For a better review of the 5 nutrition principles of the Redskins OSSCP, click here.

By Jane Jakubczak MPH, RD, CSSD, LDN; Team Dietitian

The fourth dietary principle practiced by the players during the offseason program is eating a clean diet!

Why is a "Clean Diet" important?

The adage "you are what you eat" has a lot of truth! Putting additives, salt, processed sugars and other food chemicals in your body can make you feel sluggish, foggy and affect your mood, not allowing you to meet your full potential whether on the football field or in the office. Energize your busy life with high quality fuel!

What is a "Clean Diet"?

• Consume foods in their "wholest" form is the key concept of clean eating; enjoy fresh, unprocessed and additive free foods without added sugar and salt.

A Few More Clean Diet Details

• If the product comes in a package, chose those with the least amount of ingredients on the label. 

For instance when you purchase rice, the only ingredient listed should be rice or when selecting frozen broccoli, the only word after "Ingredients" should be broccoli. It sounds simple, but you'd be surprised how many additives you can find on an ingredients label! Learn more about reading ingredient lists at

• Clean eating requires cooking at home (did I just hear some groans?).

I know, I know - this sounds like a lot of work and time, but the good news is that it doesn't have to be! Eating out will always include higher quantity of salt, fat and sugars (all 3 are flavor enhancers), not to mention calories and cost.

I tell the players to pull out the George Forman Grill, throw a chicken breast, fish fillet or lean steak on it while microwaving a sweet potato and taking a couple handfuls of salad and mixing with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a splash of lemon. Add a glass of low fat milk and fresh strawberries for dessert and voila! "Clean" dinner in less than 15 minutes!

• To enhance the flavor of whole foods, use fresh spices and herbs instead of added salt and sugar. Learn how at

• It's the perfect excuse to buy local at Farmers Markets.

This is the perfect time of year to switch to a clean diet because farmers markets are opening up all over the area. Farmers markets not only offer an abundance of fresh foods, but the food is locally grown as well so you are supporting local farmers AND the environment - Win-Win-Win situation! To find the closest farmers market: click here. Scroll down to bottom of page and enter your zip code for a complete list.

Make if a "Fresh" week!

I'd love to hear how WOW members are "spring cleaning" their diet! Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comment box below.

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