Try New and Healthier Foods in the New Year
We are creatures of habit, and it often can take multiple attempts when trying new foods. When it comes to staying well and feeling your best, there’s no substitute for a nutrient-dense diet. Use the New Year as an opportunity to add healthy new options.
Instead of eating traditional pasta, which is full of carbohydrates and calories, you can choose a healthier alternative. Try squash/zucchini, black bean or quinoa noodles. These are a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals.
Ancient Grains: Barley, Quinoa, Bulgur and Couscous
Ancient grains have remained mostly unchanged for thousands of years. They are less processed and pack a good amount of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Studies have linked ancient grain consumption to health benefits, such as lowering heart disease risk, better blood sugar control and improved digestion. These grains can help with weight management and energy levels.
Omega-3 and monounsaturated fats are good for your brain and heart. Foods like fish, nuts and avocados contain healthy fats. They can help increase energy, decrease hunger and absorb vitamins. Without good fats, you’re missing out on valuable nutrients.
This isn’t new, but it’s on the rise among people who just want to eat better. For fun try a vegetarian diet at least one day per week because it cuts calories, reduces fat and can even help save a little money. Being a full-time vegetarian is a big commitment, but this lifestyle has been shown to improve overall health and energy levels, and it’s good for the environment.
Grain and lentil bowls have become more popular. These easy lunch or dinner meals typically consist of a nutrient-packed grain base, such as quinoa, brown rice or beans. Vegetables, meats, nuts and seeds can be added to improve the nutritional value, increasing vitamins, protein, fiber and antioxidants.
How to make a grain bowl:
• Whole grain: quinoa, brown rice or bulgur
• Protein: chickpeas, black beans, salmon, shrimp or tuna
• Vegetables: tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, peppers, kale, carrots
• Sauce: tahini sauce, cilantro sauce, lemon dill sauce, cucumber sauce or chipotle sauce
• Toppings: almonds, walnuts, pecans, sesame seeds, feta cheese or goat cheese
If you want to improve the quality of your diet, focus on the nutrients in your food. Talk to your primary provider or a dietitian for tips on how to get started.
By Kim Goblirsch, Well-Being Specialist