Tip: Focus on fiber.

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

Tip: Pack on the protein.

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

Tip: Calcium is important to more than bones and teeth.

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.

Tip: Meatless Monday (or any 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)

Tip: Add Healthy Fats to Your Afternoon Snack

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.

Tip: Omega-3 fatty acids

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.