There is always something somewhere in print, online, radio or television about the most recent diet. You’ll see it more often the first of the year and in the Spring as folks focus on getting fit when the layers of clothes come off as the temperature rises. You know my mantra “there is not one food that is all good or all bad for you.” I advocate for you to choose a healthy lifestyle which includes eating a variety of foods, plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole-grains, lentils and legumes, stay hydrated, and exercise regularly.
One of the first steps in adjusting your lifestyle is to make a grocery list of the things you enjoy that will fit within these healthier guidelines. For example if you are a milk-drinker, switch to a lower fat version-1% or non-fat skim milk. These milk options will still contain calcium and vitamin D.
Breads, rice and potatoes are carbohydrates which provide the energy we need to fuel our bodies. We need carbs; however high-fiber carbohydrates are the best choices. Look for whole-grain breads and rolls, and choose brown rice over white rice. These are small changes to good carbohydrates that are higher in fiber. If potatoes are one of your favorites, add sweet potatoes to the mix. They can be baked whole, served mashed or prepared as oven fries. Avoid weighing sweet potatoes down with a lot of sugar, butter or marshmallows. Sweet potatoes are good sources of vitamins A and C, and excellent sources of anti-oxidants, and fiber too.
Increase your daily intake of fruits and vegetables, choosing items that are colorful. Start the day with fruit-orange sections, an apple, or pineapple chunks. Mix it up. Some days have vegetable juice and on other days enjoy fruit with Greek-style yogurt.
Add a variety of fruits and vegetables to your weekly menus. The average grocery store contains more than 150 different kinds of fruits and vegetables, but so many of us buy the same foods over and over. I’ve started buying one “new” item each week. This gives me a chance to increase the fruits and vegetable menu at my house and share fresh information with you.
This week I bought a couple of bunches of pea greens or pea shoots. Pea greens are young and tender pea vines that that are sold in tangled bundles. You can find them at farmers markets and in some specialty stores. They are low calorie and high in vitamins A, B-6, C, E, and K, folate, thiamin and riboflavin. They are not as hearty as some of the greens I’ve cooked, but are delicate and quickly prepared when sautéed in a little olive oil with garlic until they are wilted. They’re a terrific side-dish in place of spinach.
It isn’t necessary to spend a bundle on the latest diet fad. Give some thought to the things you like, see where you can make the switch to a healthier alternative and each day, try to follow your plan of living a healthy lifestyle.
Take Away: List healthier options for things you enjoy, increase daily intake of fruits and vegetables, try a new food, exercise regularly and stay hydrated. Follow these suggestions for well-being and you’ll notice that you’re feeling better and more energetic.
Michelle J. Stewart MPH, RDLD/N, CDE is an experienced food and nutrition communication expert specializing in wellness with a holistic approach to living your best life. Michelle has been leading the way to a healthier you for more than 25 years. She is zealous when it comes to wellness from the inside out and empowering whomever she comes in contact with to take charge of their health and wellbeing. Her motto is “EAT LESS MOVE MORE” Sign up for her Free Report 10 Weight Loss Tips for Life when you visit thenutritionplanner