Saturday, January 29, 2011

8 Things You Should Eat Every Day!

I have gotten really into healthy eating recently and I have been trying to read about it in a way that is actually "Healthy" as opposed to "Diet-y". I don't believe in diets as society has made them. So I am extremely critical as I read magazines, books etc and take in their advice. 

One source that I found and expected to be "Diet-y" was Women's Health Eat This, Not That Special. Turns out it wasn't and it actually has some great information in it. 

The information I have found most useful so far was the list of 8 things you should eat every day and why. So I just thought I would share it with you all as I explore different aspects of healthier eating. Who knows maybe it will be helpful for you too!

8 Things You Should Eat Every Day!

1) Spinach 

Pros: muscle builder, good source of omega 3s and folate

How Much:1 cup fresh or 1/2 cup cooked each day 

How I fit it in: I stick it on sandwiches, in pitas and make it into salads. You can stick it on pizzas, in pastas, lasagna, eggs almost anything really! Super sneaky way: Blend a cup of fresh spinach into your morning or afternoon smoothie. Sounds gross but the fruits you use are strong enough that you won't even notice the taste and you will still get the awesome benefits.

Tips: Go organic and baby on this one. Smaller and pesticide free leaves taste much much better, sweeter, you'll want to eat it alone. Larger, pesticide laden leaves can be bitter.


Pros: Calcium Rich, Probiotics boost immune system and protect from cancer.  

How much: 1 cup per day

How I fit it in: Yogurt with granola and fruit for breakfast or a snack its sweet and nutritious, or I run to 3 spoons with Kyle and pick up some non-fat vanilla frozen yogurt and top it with berries, coconut and nuts! Its delicious! I can't even think about getting anything else!

Tip: Greek yogurt is a much better source of proteins as far as yogurt goes. Its thicker so if you don't like that for traditional fruit and grain type snacks and meals blend it into dips or sauces! Its rich and creamy and protein packed!

 3) Tomatoes

Pros: lycopene {multi-cancer fighting and reduction of risk for coronary artery disease}. Yeah. Its that awesome.

How Much: 22mg {8 red cherry tomatoes or 1 glass of tomato juice}

How I Fit it in: I LOVE SALSA. Seriously. Tomatoes in general are awesome. I put them in sandwiches, pitas, salads ANY kind of mexican food. Which I also LOVE. This one is easy for me. Other ways might be soups & tomato sauces think Italian food. Ketchup even does something {though it shouldn't be your primary source}

4) Carrots

Pros: carotenoids {reduce risk of many cancers and inflammatory conditions like asthma and arthritis}

How Much: 1/2 cup per day {not very much!}

How I Fit It In: Carrots meet Hummus match made in heaven. Other than that carrots are easy and because they are sweet they can also be easily blended up into smoothies just like spinach. But you can also blend it into pasta sauces or top any dish with it. 

Tip: Just do it. Its such a small amount. 

5) Whole Grains

Pros: Fiber {lowers risk of heart disease, keeps you full longer}, Protein for energy.

How Much: As much as you can get. Seriously. Its an easy switch.

How I Fit it in: Whole wheat pita pockets are one of the greatest things ever. They aren't too grainy and they make a super delicious substitute for a sandwich or salad. Whole grain oats, rice etc count too! So many options.

Tip: Often times people don't like whole grain oats, pasta or rice because it seems grainy in comparison to regular versions. Cook it just a bit longer and odds are you won't notice. 

6) Walnuts

Pros: TONS of: Omega 3s, protein, polyphenols {anti-inflammatory}

How Much: 1 ounce

How I Fit it in: Well I love nuts so its not hard. I top my cereal, yogurt and frozen yogurt with them. Put them in trail mix or brownies.

You can also put them in salads or pastas. Or grind them up to put into cookies or other baked goods, use as breading on meat, or add to a pesto.

Tips: Don't be afraid. Once you try them a few times you will love them. Its such a small amount that if you don't like them its easy to grind up or stick in something else. Or: almonds and pistachios are almost as good.
7) Blueberries

Pros: Fiber rich, antioxidant packed {prevent cancer, diabetes and memory problems related to aging}

How Much: 1 cup fresh, 1/2 cup dried or frozen.

How I fit it in: I top my morning granola with fresh blueberries and bananas and 1% milk. You can also put them on top of yogurt or frozen yogurt. You can keep frozen ones on hand for any time and throw them in smoothies etc. Add them to pancakes, salads, put them on your ice cream. Dried are great for trail mix. 

Tip:Dried blueberries. {I bought organic}are SUPER expensive. My small bag was $8.50. But these berries are seriously SMALL! Which is great because they will last longer that way. Plus they have a strong flavor and are really yummy! Much better than raisins. 

8) Black Beans

Pros: heart healthy, anthocyanins {shown to improve brain function}

How Much: 1/2 cup serving or MORE!

How I Fit it in: I LOVE Mexican food. So its pretty easy for me. Check out my 
Vegetarian Enchilada Recipe. You can also add them to chili or other soups. Blend them up with other ingredients with for a yummy chip dip!

Tip: Black beans {and other beans} make eating meatless every once in a while {or as often as you like} protein packed! No need to worry! Plus they are filling and flavorful! I say go on a serious mexican food exploration mission! You won't regret it!

I will post recipes for each individual thing and some with combined recipes soon!

Enjoy and Eat Well!


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