Don’t eat that!!! Cut back on this! Limit that! No. No. No. No. No. UGH! I’m sure you are sick of hearing all the things you should avoid, limit, cut out, forget and just plain not eat. I have that list for you too, but that’s not the list I have for you today. Today is all about what to add. This isn’t a long list. It’s just a few of my favorite things to add to my rotation of healthy food choices. I find that if I add good things to my daily intake, there’s less room and desire for those things that scream my name from the back of the cabinet. So here’s my short list for the day. I will give you a few reasons why you get more bang for your nutritional buck with these items and a source for more indepth info. Once you know what and why, I will give you a few of my favorite ways to get these gems into your diet easily. Remember it’s not all or nothing. Even if you add just one of these things, it is a step forward on your journey towards health and wellness.
Chia seeds – Do not go to your Walgreens and purchase a Chia Pet. Although these are the same seeds, grocery stores sell these as food now. Actually it is an ancient food that has experienced a resurgence as a super food. It is loaded with Omega 3 oils and fiber. You don’t have to grind them like flax seeds and they are slightly nutty in taste so they are easy to add to recipes without changing the flavor much. If you need more convincing to add them, check out this article. http://healthmad.com/nutrition/the-health-benefits-of-the-chia-seed/ I like adding a few tablespoons to baked goods like banana bread, baked oatmeal, and muffins. Sprinkling them on my morning cereal or yogurt with fruit is also an easy add. Sneaking them into smoothies is a way to boost nutrition pretty painlessly.
Kale – This leafy green is great for all the reasons other greens are good for you. It is loaded with antioxidants that may protect you from a whole host of diseases including cancer, heart disease and dementia. At only 18 calories a ½ cup serving, it’s a calorie bargain. For more specifics regarding the benefits of this awesome green, read this article http://home.howstuffworks.com/kale3.htm . I love making kale chips. It’s an awesome alternative to potato chips. It’s salty, crunchy and totally guilt free. My kids eat ‘em up! Here’s a link to an easy recipe http://acozykitchen.com/kale-chips/ . Stir chopped up kale, with the tough center ribs removed, into soups and stews. My very favorite kale salad recipe is a knock off of the Whole Foods kale salad. I measure nothing. I SWEAR my family loves this salad and gobbles it up. We rarely have leftovers.
Lots of kale, tough ribs removed and finely chopped
Just a small handful of dried cranberries finely chopped
A small handful of nuts (whatever you have) finely chopped
Tomatoes – you guessed it – finely chopped
Lemon olive oil or equal parts lemon juice and olive oil mixed
Salt and pepper
Toss and let sit in the fridge for a while to let the flavors come together.
Eggs – These little gems have been given a bad reputation in the past. People have been avoiding them and removing the yolks believing that they were unhealthy. Eggs are not bad for you, in fact they are great for you. They may reduce your risk of cancer, repairs muscles after workouts, can help you feel fuller longer resulting in weight loss, and they are delicious. Need more detail to convince you, read this article http://www.womenshealthmag.com/nutrition/benefits-of-eggs#axzz1meSvBhgU . One easy way to get some eggs in your belly during the week are to boil a dozen eggs at the beginning of the week. Peel them all and store them by putting two of them in a ziplock bag with a little salt and pepper. You’ll be able to grab a bag from the refrigerator easily for a quick breakfast or snack. Of course you should add a fruit or vegetable to round out a meal. My family has a new favorite recipe and it is easy peasy to make ahead or to feed a crowd. Breakfast sandwiches made in muffin tins can be found at this link http://allthingshomie.blogspot.com/2011/10/easy-breakfast-sandwiches.html .
These were just a few of my favorite healthy add ins. If you try to think about adding in healthy options rather than thinking about all the things you have to or should give up, you may just find that you can do this! It makes sense to eat the “healthy” food first. This leaves less room for the things that dance around in your head when you are starving. Chia seeds, kale and eggs are not hard to squeeze into your menus. You may even find that they become family favorites. Chia seeds are something I put in meals and no one notices. Kale salad and eggs are things my family craves. Just try a few add ins and see what happens.
Until next time…live well! -Toni Kuhel