How to Eat Better: 5 Practical Steps to Better Nutrition
If you existed through the pandemic by eating take out foods, drinking too much wine, and doing too little exercise you are not alone. With summer on the horizon, it’s time to look to the future. Now is the time to give yourself some self-nurturing that supports your health and weight. As you look to the future, you may be wondering how to eat better. With so much information available on how to eat, it can seem like an overwhelming process. By implementing these simple steps, you are virtually guaranteed to be eating healthier. The suggestions are super easy, and anyone can implement them!
How to eat better step #1-Buy some frozen fruits and vegetables
Everyone has had the best intentions and bought too many fresh fruits and vegetables, only to let them sit and spoil. Let’s face it, life can definitely get in the way of healthy eating! Keeping a stash of frozen fruits and vegetables in the freezer means you always have the healthy stuff on hand. You don’t need to worry about mold or eating it on a certain schedule. Consumers are often surprised to find out that frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts! As fresh produce may be transported long distances before you purchase, it has time to deteriorate. But frozen fruits and vegetables are harvested after picking and prepped immediately for the freezer and transport to your local supermarket. There is virtually no down time so there are few nutrients lost.
Step #2-Consume more homemade smoothies
You can very easily improve your diet by drinking a homemade smoothie several times per week. This is an easy way to get several servings of fruits and vegetables into your diet in one sitting. You can stick with fruit smoothies or make a combination fruit and vegetable smoothie. Smoothies are a great meal replacement or satisfying snack you can consume on the run or when pressed for time. You can add cottage cheese or various forms of milk to the smoothie for protein. In addition to protein, smoothies can be a rich source of potassium and fiber.
How to eat better step #3-Eat probiotic rich foods
Research suggests that the composition of your gut bacteria impacts health. In addition to a poor diet, stress and medication can alter the quality of bacteria in your gut. Adding food sources of probiotics will help keep your good bacteria stoked while keeping bad bacteria at bay! Sources of probiotic rich foods include:
- kombucha fermented tea
- natto (fermented soybean)
- aged cheeses
Keep in mind that when making smoothies, consider ramping up the overall nutritional quality by using kefir or yogurt. That way your smoothies will have fiber, potassium, protein, and probiotics! Talk about a nutritional bang for your buck.
Step #4-Make your dessert fruit based
Consider turning your fruit into dessert. This is a super easy way to increase the nutrient density of your diet and satisfy your sweet tooth. Didn’t get enough fiber into your diet? Zap a sliced peeled apple in the microwave for about 1 minute or until tender. Add a dash of sweetener of choice and cinnamon. Top with a dash of canned whipped cream or one tablespoon of ice cream. You now have a healthy dessert for about 1/4 the calories of a slice of apple pie. Not into apples? Bake peaches, pears, or grill pineapple. And who doesn’t like chocolate covered strawberries or bananas?
Step #5-Start your day with vegetables
Vegetables should be first and front in a healthy diet. They are loaded with compounds that protect our health and they are extremely low in calories to boot. Sadly, too many people are vegetable skippers. If you start the day with vegetables, you will be more likely to get the minimum recommended 5 daily servings. Consider these steps to start the day with vegetables:
- drink low sodium vegetable juice (loaded with potassium)
- have that smoothie for breakfast, and load with kale or spinach
- have an omelette loaded with veggies
- go unconventional, eat crust free pumpkin pie for breakfast!
- add carrots or zucchini to breakfast muffins
- eat low fat quiche loaded with spinach, mushrooms, or any other veggies
Take away notes
Stock your freezer with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Add them to breakfast or snack smoothies. Consider adding probiotic rich foods to your diet to keep your gut healthy. Sneak fruit into your diet through desserts. And start your day creatively with vegetables. These steps are so simple but can have a dramatic impact on the quality of your diet and ultimately your health.
Use this information at your own risk. Although I am a licensed IL dietitian/nutritionist, I am not your dietitian. The information in my blog Chew on This located at www.mydietmatters.com is for educational and informational purposes only. It is also my own opinion and subject to change in the future. Please consult with your own medical professionals for individual treatment.