The #realfood movement is hot and my diet
resolution hack for 2015 is to eat for nutrition. But, let’s be honest – sometimes these health sites take things to the extreme (See here and here). I mean who has time for all that?!? So, in my quest to eat for nutrition in 2015, I’ve compiled a list of diet hacks any family can manage – mine included!
1. Eat more Avocado
Avocado is a known super food and it’s so easy to incorporate! Slice and serve with eggs, add to a sandwich as a condiment, or mash it up with lime and cilantro for a quick guacamole treat.
Nutrition: more potassium than a banana, high-protein fruit, substitute for butter, healthy fats
What to know: how to pit an avocado
2. Substitute with Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is magic! It’s versatile and handy to have on-hand. I mix Greek yogurt with berries for a snack, or toss it in the blender to give smoothies a thick & creamy texture. I even make ranch dressing with it! You can substitute Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese, oil, and buttermilk!
Nutrition: one cup can have up to 20 grams of protein, and it’s less likely to be loaded with sugar than regular yogurt.
What to know: Chobani’s substitutions infographic (although we eat Fage)
3. Do Matcha
We’re currently obsessed with matcha! It’s a specific type of green tea where the leaves are preserved for color and then stone ground. Quality matcha is a beautiful vibrant green and smells like a fresh summer day. I prefer Do Matcha brand. It’s delicious hot, cold, sweetened or spiced!
Nutrition: what doesn’t matcha do?! Provides antioxidants, lowers cancer risk, supports weight loss, boosts immunity, protects the liver, and helps prevent Alzheimer’s
What to know: Bamboo whisk for proper preparation
4. Homemade Hummus
I can’t believe I didn’t know how easy it is to make hummus at home! There’s no excuse for buying a preservative-laden version from the store. Hummus is a wonderful quick snack, a versatile condiment and coupled with some veggies, could be a meal!
Nutrition: good protein and fiber, chickpeas (a main ingredient) may lower cholesterol, provides folate which may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer
What to know: Helpful basic hummus recipe you can build on, but you’ll need tahini! Get creative and throw in whatever’s in the fridge – red pepper, cilantro, extra garlic, jalapeno or double your diet hack and add avocado!
5. Grapefruit a Day
The common adage says “an apple a day” but I abide by the grapefruit. The bright fresh taste is a perfect wake-up for your morning taste-buds. The fruit does have a strong after taste, so consider eating grapefruit last at the breakfast table… or as a stand alone snack.
Nutrition: lowers stroke risk, aids in weight loss, and one fruit contains provides 120% vitamin C, 55% vitamin A, 4% calcium, 4% magnesium daily dose
What to know: how to cut a grapefruit
6. Snack on Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds provide a convenient and portable snack on-the-go. I also toss them on salads and in smoothies. They’re small, but mighty and pack a powerful punch of nutrition!
Nutrition: loaded with magnesium (essential to so many physiological functions), zinc for immune support, omega-3 fats, improved insulin regulation, boosts “good” cholesterol
What to know: should be eaten raw for maximum nutrition, but you may want to soak or sprout them first.
7. Go Wild for Blueberries
Blueberries carry an antioxidant charge to fight degenerative diseases as we age. Wild blueberries are smaller than cultivated varieties. This means, cup-for-cup, wild blueberries offer about double the skin surface area where most of the nutrition lives.
Nutrition: one serving provides as many antioxidants as five servings of carrots, apples, broccoli or squash and 2/3 cup of blueberries gives you the same antioxidant protection as 1,733 IU of vitamin E and more protection that 1,200 milligrams of vitamin C.
What to know: If you’re wondering where the heck to find wild blueberries – look no further than the freezer section of your local grocer. Wyman’s brand is yum.
8. Coconut Oil & Butter in Everything
If you aren’t living under a rock, you’ve likely heard fat is back in vogue. Coconut products are an easy way to up your good-fat intake. I’ve replaced olive oil for coconut oil since it’s healthier when cooked. Coconut butter is a go-to for silky delicious smoothies – I love Artisana brand!
Nutrition: promotes heart health, promotes weight loss, supports immune system, good energy, and supports proper thyroid function.
What to know: Coconut Manna is essentially the branded version of coconut butter.
9. Time-saving Protein Powder
A protein shake is the lazy way to a healthier diet – in moderation. Watch out for additives and unnecessary sweeteners in your protein powder. Also, the ever-popular whey-base protein could cause inflammation; so opt for a plant-base variety. I love my Nutiva organic hemp protein powder!
Nutrition: simply protein – the original appetite suppressant and cell builder & repairer
What to know: this isn’t your candy-flavored shake & drink protein. I find I need to temper the taste and smell with fruit and nuts to make it more palatable. I like to add protein powder to Dr.Hyman’s recipe.
10. Drop the Diet Soda
We simply don’t buy soda or have any in the house (much to my mother’s chagrin!). If you’re truly eating for nutrition, it’s clear that soda (diet or regular) doesn’t support that goal. There are easy and delicious alternatives that DO provide nutritional value. Consider squeezing lemon and crushing basil in a pitcher of water for a zesty treat. For a quick caffeine fix and double diet hack, substitute Matcha!
Nutrition: Studies show diet beverage consumption can cause weight gain, increased cravings, loss of calcium, and decreased water intake. And we haven’t even mentioned the artificial colors, flavors, fake sweeteners….. in other words it’s not real food.
What to know: Caramel coloring containing 4-methylimidazole (present in Coke & Pepsi) is nasty stuff studies have shown causes cancer.
Simply stated: Before you eat, ask yourself “what nutrients is this providing to my body and for my family?” If you’re eating for nutrition the answer will be obvious! Cheers to a healthy & happy 2015 from our home to yours!