Fiber is the “bulky” component of carbohydrates and aids in both the absorption and digestion of a variety of different foods The recommended daily intake for fiber is 25-30g/day, with the average American falling short at about 15g/day Always aim to buy packaged foods that have at least 3g of fiber in every serving
Look at the labels of common carbohydrates you eat (oatmeal, granola bars, cereal, beans, etc.) to track how much fiber you’re getting everyday Goal should be at least 25 grams/day
One of proteins most crucial minerals is iron. Iron helps transport oxygen to our muscles for healthy function When it comes to non-animal forms of protein, making sure you’re getting your daily recommended intake is important. Protein needs are dependent on our weight and range from 0.8-1.0 g/kg body weight Always try and pair non-animal forms of protein with Vitamin C to up it’s iron absorption
The body can only absorb so much protein at a time, so spread it evenly throughout the day, try eating some form of protein every time you eat Add in some vitamin C (oranges, grape fruits, strawberries, dark leafy greens, broccoli, bell peppers, Brussel sprouts) to up your iron absorption
Calcium helps maintain strong and healthy teeth and bones; assists in blood clotting, muscle contraction/relaxation; and regulates hormones and heartbeat. While calcium is most often associated with dairy products there are non-dairy foods that provide calcium, such as soybeans, canned salmon and sardines, almonds, sunflower seeds, green leafy vegetables (broccoli, collard greens, kale, bok choy), and fortified products such as orange juice, soy milk, tofu, cereals, and breads.
This week read nutrition labels of common calcium-containing foods you consume! Aim to get at least 1,000mg of calcium each day
Did you know reducing your meat consumption and off-setting it by consuming fruits, vegetables, and non-animal protein sources can have major health benefits including the reduction in the following diseases: heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, and obesity. In addition to health benefits, there are also major environmental benefits that going meatless can provide including reducing green house gases, decreasing water usage, and fossil fuel consumption (plants cost less to grow and harvest than animals do)
Eat a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and non-animal forms of protein such as soy (edamame), beans, nuts, and tofu. Aim to get at least 3 colors on your plate to up your color quotient!
Replace fatty foods like French fries or chips with healthy alternatives.
- Coat sweet potato slices with olive oil and bake.
- Stir cubed avocado into dark leafy veggies, like broccoli.
- Make sure your dairy is fortified with vitamin D.
These vitamins are powerful antioxidants, and are important for immune function, cellular integrity, and bone health. Foods that are high in these vitamins include dark leafy veggies, fish, eggs, nuts, and avocados. A cool fact about these vitamins is that they are not lost or destroyed during the cooking process!
Instead of your normal afternoon snack have a handful of nuts with a piece of fruit. Remember that one serving of nuts is about one ounce, which is ¼ cup, or about 20-25 almonds. An easy way to practice portion control: spread a thin layer of nuts on the surface of a (clean!) square post-it. Perfect portions every time.
Nuts are a concentrated source of heart healthy fats and nutrients that can reduce cholesterol, promote healthy eyes and vision, and potentially protect against cancer. Nuts provide protein and are a great source of fiber, which helps sustain your energy levels and control appetite. Nuts also make a great topping for salads and main courses. Mix it up by choosing a variety of almonds, walnuts, pecans, and cashews.
Challenge: Increase your omega-3 intake this week. Have 2 servings of fatty fish (such as salmon, mackerel, or tuna). For a vegetarian option have 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed 3 times this week. Flax is delicious stirred into oatmeal, yogurt, or a smoothie.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats (our body needs them yet we don’t make them, so we have to get them from our food); essential fats have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure. They are also necessary for optimal brain function and reducing inflammation around the heart and in the joints. A report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology recommends that healthy people consume at least 500 mg per day of omega-3, or 800-1000 mg per day for those with cardiovascular disease.
Swap out cheese and mayo on your sandwich for hummus or avocado.
Skip pre-made and creamy salad dressings; add a sprinkle of chopped nuts, a drizzle of olive oil, or cubed avocado.
Research shows that choosing heart healthy fat options can lower your cholesterol and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. Heart healthy options like avocado and hummus are high in healthy poly- and mono-unsaturated fats. Moderation of all fats is key - a little fat goes a long way!