March is National Nutrition Month® and the 2017 theme in the USA is “Put Your Best Fork Forward” and in Canada, it’s “Take the Fight Out of Food.” Both are awesome themes because they remind us every bite counts. Small shifts in our food choices add up over time. With every bite, we empower ourselves to feel better and live healthier lives full of independence and on our terms.
You know there are many foods that give you great bang for your health – you’ve routinely seen the lists of ‘superfoods’ in the media. Today I’m highlighting three and giving you 3 practical ideas on how to put your best fork forward when using them.
1. Avocado. You’ve probably heard avocados described as ‘healthy fats.’ Why? Because they are great for heart health and fighting other diseases. How? They contain more potassium than bananas, provide vitamin K which plays an important role in blood clotting, contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, and are a good source of dietary fiber. They also contain the disease fighting antioxidants, lutein which is also good for eye health and zeaxanthin.
Best Fork Forward Solution: Use avocado instead of mayo or butter. Spread avocado on your sandwich, mix avocado with canned tuna or salmon, create a creamy avocado dressing or enjoy it in your filling for deviled eggs!
2. Cruciferous Vegetables. This class of veggies includes, but is not limited to, broccoli, Bok choy, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage. They’re all good sources of fiber and provide a variety of phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. Various components of cruciferous veggies have been linked to a lower risk for cancer.
Best Fork Forward Solution: Eat more veggies…for breakfast. Yes! Breakfast. Add leftover veggies from the night before, that’s if you have any ;), or sautéed bell peppers to your morning eggs. This combination of protein and fiber will help stabilize your energy level and keep you fuller longer.
3. Eggs. Eggs are an ‘eggcellent’ source of high quality protein packing in 6 grams of protein, 13 essential vitamins and minerals and only 70 calories into just 1 large egg and for only about 20 cents per egg! Stay tuned for next month’s newsletter where the whole issue will be devoted to the eggcellent “egg.”
Best Fork Forward Solution: Enjoy the benefits and taste of eggs any time of the day. Eggs aren’t just for breakfast. Pack egg salad mixed with avocado mayo for lunch. Have an egg and cruciferous vegetable frittata for dinner. Snack on a hardboiled egg and a piece of fruit or veggies. The possibilities are endless.
3 More Ways to Put Your Best Fork Forward:
1. Everyday: Eat more fruits and vegetables. Drink more water. Move your body more in and outside the gym. Decrease fried foods and sugar intake. Choose more whole grains like brown rice, barley, quinoa and oatmeal.
2. On the go: Pack your snacks in advance. Put a banana, apple or orange with raw nuts such as almonds or walnuts along with a bottle of water in your bag before heading out the door. Having a snack that is easy to eat and balanced with fiber, protein, fat and fluids will help maintain energy levels and keep you feeling fuller longer.
3. With your loved ones: Avoid discussing “diets” and “weight loss” struggles in front of children. Shift the conversation away from weight and body image to other topics. Instead, focus on the positive benefits of eating healthy foods and staying active. Children are especially vulnerable to “weight” and “dieting” table talk – 80% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat and 69% of elementary school girls say magazine images influence their concept of an ideal body shape. Be aware of your relationship with food and how your words might influence the little ears around you.