6 Ways to Jump Start Your Healthy Diet
Why is it that eating healthy got a reputation of being difficult? Why does it seem time-consuming? Why is it difficult to go out with the girls or family and stay on track? Why does it have to be a pain in the but? If you really think about it, being healthy doesn’t have to be this way. It doesn’t have to be portrayed in a negative light. Nutrition experts from Weight Watchers share their super-fast, incredibly easy ways to fill up on foods that are good for you. PLUS it’s not difficult, or time consuming, and you can share these with friends and family!
- Get sneaky. That is, sneak fruits and vegetables — excellent sources of disease-fighting vitamins, fiber, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals — into the foods you already eat, advises Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD, author of Stealth Health: How to Sneak Nutrition Painlessly into Your Diet. No-brainer ideas include: Top off your morning cereal or yogurt with blueberries, peaches and the like. Add finely chopped carrots, broccoli and kale to pasta sauces, meat loaf, soups and salads. (Hint: Buy them ready-cut at your supermarket.)
- Experiment with exotic fruits. Think papaya, mango, melon and fresh pineapple. “Tropical fruits are especially potent sources of antioxidants,” says Felicia Busch, RD, author ofNew Nutrition: From Antioxidants to Zucchini.
- Down some veggies. Another no-fuss way to eat more veggies? “Drink vegetable juice,” Busch suggests. Besides offering disease-fighting nutrients, “most vegetable juices are blends, so they provide more unique combinations of vegetables that you might not otherwise eat,” says Busch. A varied diet maximizes your body’s arsenal of health-promoting nutrients, she says.
- Milk those calcium moments. Choose calcium-fortified juice instead of the regular version — you’ll get as much calcium (300 milligrams) as you would in a glass of milk (bear in mind: milk has more nutrients, particularly vitamin D, which helps absorb calcium). Make oatmeal and other hot cereals with skim milk instead of water, and switch to skinny lattes (2/3 skim milk, 1/3 strong coffee) instead of regular coffee, suggests Tribole.
- Don’t bypass beans at the salad bar. They’re an underrated source of disease-fighting fiber, as well as a great source of iron, protein and folate, the last of which is especially important for women of child-bearing age, says Busch. Studies show that a diet high in fiber can even help keep your weight in check. Use canned, rinsed beans in salads, and incorporate them into soups, stews and sauces.
- Choose fish. “The average American eats fish about once a week,” says Busch. But two to three times a week is better — so why not grill some up, or make a fillet in minutes in your broiler pan? Little-known fact: Fish generally takes less time to cook than a boneless chicken breast. And fish, especially coldwater fish like salmon, is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acid, the heart-healthy fat that helps lower LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol. “Eating more fish may also reduce your cancer risk,” says Busch, “and even lower your blood pressure.”