Healthy fats are essential for your health and help you maintain a healthy weight, decrease your risk of developing diabetes, and improve brain function. Some healthy options include avocado, olive oil, raw seeds, nuts, and nut butters. Below are some easy and tasty ways to include healthy fats in your diet:
- Get your daily dose of Vitamin E, fiber, and essential minerals with raw almonds, cashews, dry roasted peanuts, and walnuts.
- To limit cravings for sweets, enjoy a handful of nuts instead.
- Use olive oil based salad dressings to incorporate Omega-3 oils for a healthy heart and brain.
- Trail mix with yogurt and fresh fruit is a great way to include nuts in your diet. You can also enjoy a KIND Bar for an afternoon snack.
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Protein is essential for tissue repair and immunity; however, you don’t need as much as you may think. Most people only need about 6 ounces of animal protein (or vegetarian substitute) per day. Caplan notes that consuming too much protein can lead to bone loss. Here are some great lean (low fat) protein options that you can include in your diet:
- Enjoy flank steak, chicken, or turkey on sandwiches and salads, but be sure to avoid deli meats that are high in sodium nitrates; these include bologna, salami, and ham.
- Enjoy fish for lunch or dinner. Fish is high in Omega 3 Fatty Acids, which help improve heart and brain functions.
- Add unprocessed cheese to salads and quesadillas, or simply enjoy it with fresh or dried fruit and nuts for a sweet and savory treat.
- Spread some olive oil or canola mayo (cold pressed) and spicy mustard and/or horseradish on your sandwiches to add some healthy fats into your diet.
- For some extra zing, add sliced avocado and roasted red peppers to your sandwiches. To increase your daily dose of antioxidants, you can also add a few spinach leaves.
- For a healthy lunch with an Asian flare, you can pack eight pieces of sushi or sashimi with some edamame and miso soup.
- Beans are also a great source of protein, particularly for vegans and vegetarians. Some tasty options include beans soups, Mexican entrées, or tofu dishes. For something quick and simple, you can toss a can of beans into a fresh green salad.
Judy Caplan, our corporate nutritionist, notes that whole or unrefined grains are packed with minerals and B vitamins as well as fiber, which helps keep you full and satisfied. These nutrients are all very important for heart and bowel health. Caplan recommends eating a variety of whole grains, including oats, barley, quinoa, whole wheat, rye, amaranth, farro, and brown rice. She notes that healthy carbs (which include whole grains) will not make you gain weight when consumed in moderation. Here are some helpful tips for incorporating whole grains into your busy lifestyle:
- Remember to make/buy your sandwiches and wraps on whole grain bread products. The same goes for crackers, English muffins, bagels, chips, and pretzels.
- Choose non-hydrogenated microwave popcorn as a delicious and fiber-rich snack.
- You don’t have to say goodbye to baked goods for good! As a treat, choose or prepare baked goods with whole wheat flour and healthy oils. Enjoy your treat with fresh fruit or a hot skim latte for lunch.
- Buy whole grain cereals and pastas to boost your fiber intake.
- Asian bowls prepared with brown rice are excellent for lunches and dinners. You can easily prepare them with sautéed broccoli, mushrooms, cabbage, carrots, and scallions. Top with tofu, sesame oil, and soy sauce for some extra flavor.
- Enjoy a fresh and flavorful veggie burger with grilled onions and mushrooms on a whole grain bun.
What carb myth have you heard before?