With National Nutrition Month upon us in March this is always a good opportunity to think about choosing the most nutritionally-packed foods possible from each food group. Nutrient-rich foods and beverages provide the most nutrition per calorie and provide vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and other essential nutrients.
Here are some practical ways to add more nutrient-rich foods to your diet as recommended by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Serve meals packed with multiple nutrient-rich foods broth-based soups that are loaded with beans, vegetables and lean meats or chili topped with low-fat yogurt. Organic plain yogurt is usually best.
Eat oatmeal packed with raisins, cherries, blueberries and dried cranberries topped with fat-free milk for creaminess.*
Make dessert drinks that include tropical fruits such as pineapple and mango and blend with low-fat milk and flavored yogurt. Yogurt parfaits or smoothies with blueberries or strawberries are also great. *
Serve sandwiches loaded with lean ham, turkey chicken, roast beef, tomato, cucumber and avocado on whole wheat or rye bread.
Cut ready-to-eat vegetables for a nutrient-dense snack - carrots, peppers , cucumbers, broccoli, celery, cauliflower, radishes and snap peas.
Make low-sugar, nutrient-rich drinks such as 100% fruit juice and low-fat or fat-free milk.*
Use nutrient-dense toppings such as reduced-fat cheese and chopped nuts.
To reduce calories when eating out, order salads with low-calorie dressings, grilled meats and seafoods, baked potatoes with salsa and vegetables.
Limit your sugars and reduce your major sources of fat by cutting back on fatty meats including bacon, sausage and hotdogs, sodas, fruit and sports drinks, cookies, cakes, ice cream.
*(We recommend organic milk as the best choice because it doesn't contain added synthetic hormones and antibiotics.)
Here are some reduced-calorie ideas to enhance the flavor of your dishes as well.
Intensify the flavors of fish, meat and poultry with high-heat cooking techniques grilling, broiling and pan-searing.
Use flavor-packed condiments such as salsas, horseradish, chutney, wasabi, tapenade and bean purees.
Spice up your dishes with hot pepper sauce as well as sweet, hot and dried red, yellow and green peppers.
Flavor your soups, salads and sauces with flavored balsamic or rice vinegar.
Grill or roast vegetables in a very hot oven or grill, spray or brush them lightly with oil to keep them from drying out and sprinkle them with herbs.
Add flavor to dishes with acidic ingredients such as squeezed lemon, lime and orange citrus. You can also grate the peels of these and sprinkle on your dishes.
Make a meat or poultry sauce out of caramelized onions.
Use flavor-bursting ingredients such as cilantro, chipotle pepper pomegranate seeds.
Make reduction sauces by simmering and concentrating the flavors of meat, fish and poultry stocks and use as a glaze or gravy.
Use fuller flavor whole grains such as brown and wild rice, quinoa and amaranth.
Achieving balance and building a healthier diet can be simple and stress-free, says Debbi Beauvais, registered dietician nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Selecting nutrient-rich foods and beverages first is a way to make better choices within your daily eating plan.
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Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.