Eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated. Nowadays, supermarket shelves are filled with nutritious foods for meals and snacks. We just have to ignore those shelves of donuts, candies, cookies, and all those overly processed foods that wreak havoc on our bodies as well as our minds.
If you’ve made up your mind to eat more nutritiously, here are some easy ways to do it:
In the produce department, opt for brightly-colored fruits and vegetables.
- Dark green and red salad greens. Skip iceberg lettuce. Instead choose nutrient-filled options: kale, spinach, Swiss chard, romaine, red or green leaf lettuce, bibb or Boston lettuce. To add fiber to your salad, add celery, cabbage, cauliflower, and green pepper.
- Cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts – They are “super vegetables,” according to this WebMD article. These veggies contain phytochemicals, nutrients, and fiber, all very important for our daily diets.
- Citrus fruits: Oranges, tangerines, clementines, lemons, limes – for vitamin C.
- Berries of all kinds for their anti-oxidant powers. Apples because they’re crunchy and good with peanut butter. Bananas to top your cereal.
- More must-have veggies: tomatoes (contain lycopene for fighting cancer) – carrots (containing vitamin A and C) – bell peppers (contain lycopene and folic acid)
- Sweet potatoes – contain great cancer-fighting nutrients, high in fiber and iron)
You get the picture. Fill up that cart with fruit and veggies and your body will thank you.
While fresh fruits and vegetables are the best choice, frozen produce is a good second choice. They are usually frozen right after they ripen and are harvested, so their nutrients remain intact.
Fiber is fundamental! We need 20 to 30 grams of fiber each day. Fiber keeps us feeling fuller between meals, helps with weight management and can lower our risk of heart disease and cancer. Eating more veggies and fruits will help provide our dietary fiber. Other options include:
- Whole-grain breads and cereals. Brown rice. Beans of all kinds. Whole-grain pastas. Read more about the benefit of a high-fiber diet here.
- Tips for buying breads from WebMD (Avoid bread “myths”)
In the meat department, be a savvy shopper – think lean.
- Choose boneless, skinless chicken breasts and turkey cutlets. For any chicken cuts you buy, choose the skinless variety.
- Ground turkey, extra lean ground beef (90% + lean).
- Look for the word “loin” in pork products (pork tenderloin, etc.).
- Leanest beef: round steak, round roasts, top sirloin, chuck shoulder and arm roasts.
- Fatty fish such as trout, tuna, salmon and mackerel.
Choose good snacks.
- Nuts of all kinds (not salted and dry-roasted)
- Instead of buying packaged cookies, make your own and look for recipes that use whole wheat flour, oatmeal, fat substitutes and less sugar)
- “Light” string cheese – low-fat cottage cheese in single serve packages –
- Plain Greek non-fat yogurt (add your own fruit and some honey to sweeten it up a tad)
- Frozen fruit bars – Dole has a good variety, around 70 calories each (with some added sugar)
- Moderate amounts of dark chocolate – try strawberries dipped in melted dark chocolate
- Kind bars – filled with nutritious ingredients and taste great Check ’em out at the Kind Website.
- Find a list of fat-fighting snacks in this article from Health.com.
Use monounsaturated oils for cooking and salad dressings: canola, olive, or peanut oil
Drink more water and unsweetened iced tea rather than sugary drinks
Add ground flax seed to your oatmeal and fruit smoothies
Eat protein with breakfast – egg, turkey sausage or turkey bacon, etc.
For further reading:
Harvard School of Public Health: Vegetables and Fruits
Great Guidelines for Eating Healthier
How to make wise protein choices
Eat the right fats – choose monounsaturated (canola, peanut, olive oil)
Drink water and unsweetened iced tea instead of sugary drinks.