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Buying healthy foods at the grocery store

Buying healthy foods at the grocery store

The local grocery store is a great place to find healthy, nutritious foods.  Unfortunately, it is also a place to find less healthy foods and many junk foods.  Learning how to follow a healthy lifestyle means learning how to shop for the healthiest foods, and learning how to avoid temptation.

Learning to read labels is an important skill for any healthy shopper.  The information on nutritional labels is very valuable, providing complete information on the percentage of many vitamins and minerals a particular food contains.  In addition, nutritional information labels provide valuable information on things like the number of calories, number of grams, percentage of total fat, and amount of fiber each food contains.  It is important to choose those foods that have the best nutritional qualities as you roam the local grocery store.

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There are some important guidelines to follow to make sure that every trip to the grocery store will be a healthy experience.  After all, you cannot have a healthy refrigerator or a healthy dinner table without first stocking your kitchen pantry with the healthiest foods available.

Pieces Of Advice

One of the best pieces of advice is probably something you have heard a million times, and that is to never go grocery shopping when you are hungry.  Even if it means stopping for a quick snack on your way, it is important to not enter the supermarket while you are hungry.  Hungry shoppers make bad choices, and those unhealthy choices will be around long after your hunger has abated.

Another good trick is to hit the produce section of your grocery store first.  Fill up your food basket with healthy, nutritious fruits and vegetables.  Not only will this allow you to stock the fridge and the pantry with healthy choices, but it will leave less room for all those less healthy foods.

It is also important to always make a detailed shopping list before hitting the grocery store.  A well-thought-out grocery list keeps you from overspending and also helps keep you from succumbing to the temptation of less healthy junk foods.  To keep a detailed list of what you need on your next shopping list, try keeping a notepad by the fridge or on the dining room table.  Write down each item as you think of it, and come shopping day, you will have a complete list of everything you need to buy.

As you shop around the grocery store, it is a good idea to take advantage of the many low-fat foods that fill grocery store shelves.  There are low varieties of many foods, including milk and dairy products, meats and cheeses, and even cakes and pies.  Most of these products contain all the taste of full-fat products, without all the fat.

When shopping for low-fat foods, however, be on the lookout for extra sugar content.  This is not so much a concern with milk and dairy products, but it is sometimes a concern with low-fat baked goods.  Some manufacturers pack their low-fat baked goods with extra sugar, so it pays to be a smart label reader.

As long as you watch the sugar content, however, low-fat desserts and sweets are excellent choices.  When grocery shopping, try to choose naturally lower-fat alternatives, such as angel food cake, fig bars, and vanilla wafers.  Buying smaller portion sizes is another smart strategy for enjoying sweets while limiting fat and calories.

Another smart strategy is to choose whole-grain loaves of bread and cereals whenever possible.  Whole grains contain more fiber and other nutrients than more processed foods, so buying whole grains makes a lot of sense.

When shopping for the healthiest cereals in the grocery store, it is helpful to understand how the cereal aisle of the typical grocery store is arranged.  Shelf space at a grocery store is in high demand and short supply, and cereal manufacturers take advantage of this fact in their store shelf marketing.  In general, the less healthy, sugar-laden cereals are arranged at kid height, while the more adult, healthier products are on the top shelves.

That is one reason why your kids are always trying to put those sugar cubes disguised as cereal in your cart as you shop.  Choosing healthier cereals from the top shelves is a good strategy, but it is still important to read the labels to make sure you are getting what you think you are.

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DISCLAIMER:

This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA-approved they must be accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

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Making smart food choices with practical foods

Making smart food choices with practical foods

Everyone who is trying to follow a healthy eating lifestyle understands the need to buy quality, healthy and practical foods.  Practical foods are those foods that are not only healthy but whose benefits extend beyond their mere nutritional value.  Such foods are easy to use and useful in a number of different recipes.  Healthy, practical foods, when used on a regular basis, form a great part of a healthy diet, and may even lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other common illnesses.

One great practical food is the humble tomato.  It may not look much like an orange, but the tomato is actually a citrus fruit as well.  As such, tomatoes are rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants.  In addition, tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene, which has shown promise in preventing certain kinds of cancer.

In addition, tomatoes are easy to use, versatile, and inexpensive.  In addition to fresh, in-season tomatoes, which are delicious as well as nutritious, tomatoes are available in canned and frozen varieties as well.  Tomatoes can be used in so many different ways, and in so many different recipes, that it is always a good idea to have a supply of them on hand in the pantry or the fridge.

Pastas, especially whole wheat varieties of pasta, are another great example of functional food.  Pastas can also be used in a variety of ways, from simple preparations with simple tomato-based sauces, to elaborate creations using shrimp, tuna, and other seafood.

Of course, pasta dishes can be healthy or unhealthy, depending on how they are topped.  Toppings such as Alfredo sauce or rich cream sauces should be avoided when trying to follow a healthy diet.  As with all foods, such heavy sauces are fine in moderation, but they should not form the bulk of your diet.

Luckily, there are lower-fat alternatives to many high-fat pasta sauces, and these low-fat alternatives should be used whenever possible.  Substituting lower-fat alternatives for fatty, unhealthy foods is an important skill when it comes to creating a healthy diet.

Whole-grain bread, flours, and grains are also good examples of healthy, practical foods.  Stocking up on these staples when they are on sale will help ensure that you have everything you need to create the most healthy recipes possible for yourself and your family. 

Whole grain products should be substituted for more highly refined bread and cereals whenever possible, since whole grain bread, cereals, and grains retain more of their important nutrients than do more highly refined foods.

Starting a healthy eating program using practical foods is easy.  Start by taking a personal inventory of your current diet, including where it is good and where it can use some improvement.  Learn to assess the personal health risks created by your current diet (your family physician can be of particular help here).  A physician or dietitian can be a big help in putting together a list of healthy, easy-to-use, practical foods you can use to change your diet for the better.

It is also a good idea to use your interest in healthy eating to create and use exciting new recipes.  There are a great many healthy eating recipes available, both on the internet and in cookbooks.  Seek out some of these recipes and try using your favorite healthy staples to create some wonderful dishes.

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For some ideas on how to use practical foods morning, noon, and night, try some of these great ideas:

Breakfast:

  • Include some healthy staples and some healthy fruits in your breakfast.  For instance, pair healthy oatmeal with blueberries, or whole wheat or wheat bran cereal with strawberries or bananas.
  • Try mixing a healthy cereal like All Bran into your nonfat or low-fat yogurt.  It will perk up your plain yogurt and give it a great crunch.
  • Fresh fruit is also a great addition to yogurt.  Try buying plain, nonfat yogurt and mixing in your own raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries.  You will save money and enjoy a healthy breakfast.
  • Instead of high-fat butter, spread your toast with apple butter or soy nut butter instead.  Always try to use whole-grain varieties of bread like wheat or rye.
  • Drink a glass of 100% fruit juice with breakfast every day.  Orange juice, grape juice, apple juice, and grapefruit juice are all great choices.
  • Blend 1% milk or soy milk with fresh pineapple for a healthy, delicious breakfast smoothie. These smoothies are great for people on the go.

Lunch and dinner ideas

  • Make a great tuna salad with grated carrots, green peppers, red peppers, garlic, and onion.
  • Make a dish of fresh whole-grain pasta and top it will homemade tomato sauce and fresh homegrown herbs.
  • Use healthy foods like onions and leeks, along with tomatoes, as a great side dish.
  • Grill healthy fish and serve with a healthy side salad.
  • Try some low-fat soups like spinach and broccoli soup.
  • Make a great vegetable stir-fry with olive oil.

Healthy snacks

Of course, no plan for healthy eating is complete without some great healthy snacks.  Below are some of our favorite healthy snacks for those on the go.

  • A piece of fresh fruit, like an apple, orange, or banana, always makes a great snack.  Keep a bowl of fruit on your kitchen counter for easy access.
  • Try mixing nuts and dried fruit for a great homemade trail mix.  Hikers and nonhikers alike will enjoy this healthy snack.
  • Treat yourself to a great glass of orange, tomato, or cranberry juice before you leave the house in the morning.
  • Keep a supply of broccoli florets, baby carrots, and other bite-size vegetables, and some healthy dip, on hand.
  • Make your own fruit salad with oranges, bananas, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and other favorites.
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DISCLAIMER:

This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA-approved they must be accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

white refrigerator near door

Creating a healthy fridge

Creating a healthy fridge

In many ways, the refrigerator is the cornerstone of any healthy eating plan.  How you stock that fridge can make a huge difference in the success or failure of any healthy eating plan.  From what foods it contains, to where they are stored, the refrigerator can be vitally important to healthy eating.

The first step should be to take stock of just what the refrigerator contains. The bachelors among us may already be familiar with this process, but taking stock of the fridge means more than just throwing away those foods that have begun to turn green or grow hair.

Taking stock of the contents of the fridge should mean a monthly review of everything it contains.  During this review, separate the healthier foods from the others.  It is important to make sure that you have more low-fat, high-fiber, and low-sugar foods than high-fat low-fiber and high-sugar ones.  If the ratio is off, try to shop for healthier foods.

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Refrigerator

Another great trick for keeping a healthy refrigerator is to hide the less healthy foods.  Try hiding the desserts and other such foods in the crisper, where they will be out of sight and not constantly tempting you.  Since fresh fruits and vegetables tend to dry out if they are not used right away, store them in plain sight to increase their likelihood of being eaten.  Hiding cakes in the produce drawers, and prominently displaying the fruits and vegetables, is a smart way to keep a healthy fridge.

Another tip is to organize the refrigerator into different sections and to segregate those sections into sometimes foods (unhealthy choices) and everyday foods (healthy choices).  Try to place the healthier foods in the front of the refrigerator, while relegating the unhealthier choices to the back.

Substitution is another great strategy for creating a healthy fridge and a healthy lifestyle.  There are low-fat and nonfat versions of literally hundreds of different foods.  Try substituting skim or 1% milk for whole milk, soft margarine for fattier butter, and low-fat sour cream for the full-fat varieties.  Try replacing fattier meats with leaner ones or with chicken and fish.  Even a simple change, like substituting soft margarine for butter, can result in significant savings in saturated fat.

For those families with young children, it is important to involve the entire family in healthy eating lifestyles.  The habits children learn in childhood often follow them throughout their adult lives, so it makes a lot of sense to get them off to a great start.  Try decorating healthy foods with fun stickers, stars, or other colorful items.

Stickers and stars are not the only way to make healthy foods more appealing.  Try storing healthy foods with attractive, delicious toppings to make them more interesting and appealing.  Try storing a container of berries next to the low-fat yogurt, or a bottle of chocolate syrup with 1% milk.  Mixing these foods together is a great way to create healthy snacks quickly.

Another key to creating a healthy refrigerator is to use leftovers wisely.  Leftovers can be very useful, and healthy meals make healthy leftovers.  Try using leftovers as lunches or as healthy snacks for the next day.

Ready-to-eat meals are a great way to encourage healthy eating.  Try this handy trick – when you return from your weekly grocery shopping, take the time to create some quick single-serving meals and stack them in the fridge.  In addition, try making some quick snacks by cutting up fresh fruits and vegetables and storing them in single-serving containers.

Using the freezer space in your refrigerator wisely is important as well. Freezing foods that won’t be used right away is a great way to make your food dollar go further and to provide quick meals for your family.  Try freezing foods in portion sizes.  This will make it easier to eat healthier meals, and it will help ensure everyone gets their favorites.  When looking at portion sizes, remember that the recommended serving size of meat is 3 ounces, roughly equivalent to the size of a deck of playing cards.  The standard serving size for pasta is one cup, while a serving of vegetables is ½ cup.

The freezer can also be a great way to create fun fruit snacks for the entire family.  Freezing healthy fruits like grapes, orange slices, and bananas make great snacks for children and adults alike.

Eliminate Sleeplessness Naturally and Rejuvenate The Body!

DISCLAIMER:

This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA-approved they must be accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

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Choosing the healthiest frozen meals

Choosing the healthiest frozen meals

When it comes to eating healthy, fresher is almost always better.  In some cases, however, it is impossible to cook fresh food every night.  For people on the go, frozen foods can be healthy alternatives to fresh products.

While there is no substitute for a well-balanced, fresh-cooked meal using plenty of fresh and healthy ingredients, healthy frozen meals can provide a quick and easy alternative for busy people and those who do not have time to cook meals from scratch.

No matter what type of diet you are following, chances are there is a frozen meal available to meet your needs.  From low-fat to heart-healthy to vegetarian meals, there are a great many frozen dinners at the local supermarket or grocery store. 

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Frozen Food

While frozen foods can be very healthy, it is important to keep a close eye out for potentially unhealthy ingredients as you shop.  In particular, many frozen and prepared foods have unacceptably high levels of sodium.  In addition, many frozen dinners, even those that use the healthiest ingredients, may use preservatives to which some people may be sensitive. 

When choosing from among the many brands and varieties of frozen foods on the grocery store shelf, it is important to read the nutritional labels very carefully.  These government-mandated nutritional labels contain a wealth of information, but it is important to understand how to read them. 

Nutritional labels provide information on such important things as calorie count, number of fat grams, and amount of sodium, as well as the percentages of various vitamins and minerals the food contains.

When examining those nutritional labels, it is important to pay close attention to the portion size.  Even a small frozen dinner can be equal to two servings, so if you plan to eat the whole thing yourself, be sure to double the calories, sodium, and fat content numbers.

When looking at the amount of fat in a frozen dinner, it is important to follow the widely accepted recommendations to keep the total amount of daily fat to less than 30% of daily calories.  Luckily, the new nutritional labels mandated by the government make this calculation a lot easier.  Food manufacturers are required to list the amount of fat their foods contain as a percentage of an average daily diet, so it is easy to tell at a glance if a particular frozen food is a healthy, low-fat choice.

In addition to keeping total fat to less than 30% of total calories, it is important to keep saturated fat levels to less than 10% of daily calories.  For sodium levels, it is important to limit the amount of sodium to less than 200 milligrams for every 100 calories of food.

In addition, most experts recommend keeping your daily sodium intake to less than 2400 milligrams per day.  It is important to read the labels on all frozen foods, even if they are labeled as healthy.  While claiming the healthy label obligates food manufacturers to follow certain guidelines, it is still important to review the labels in order to choose the healthiest choices.

When choosing the healthiest meals from among the hundreds of varieties at the average supermarket or grocery store, it is a good idea to choose those that contain at least a half cup of vegetables, fruits, or beans.  Doing so will help you ensure that the meal you choose is healthy and nutritious.

Finally, since you are in the grocery store already, why not make a stop at the salad bar for a healthy addition to your frozen entrée?  Many large grocery store chains have installed wonderful salad bars stocked full of the freshest fruits, vegetables, and garnishes, as well as a great selection of low-fat and nonfat salad dressings.

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DISCLAIMER:

This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA-approved they must be accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

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Getting the most from healthy fruits and vegetables

Getting the most from healthy fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are among the healthiest of all foods, and the great variety of these foods at the local grocery store makes it easier than ever to enjoy great meals and snacks anytime the mood strikes you.

The latest food guidelines recommend that adults eat from five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day.  While that may seem like a lot, it is an important goal to strive for and a very reachable one.

A serving of a fruit or vegetable is equal to:

  • 1 medium-sized vegetable or fruit (such as an apple, orange, or banana)
  • 2 small fruits (such as kiwi fruit or plums)
  • ½ cup of fresh, frozen, or canned fruits or vegetables
  • ½ cup of 100% fruit juice
  • ¼ cup of dried fruit
  • 1 cup of green salad
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Eating a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables is a great way to start a healthier lifestyle.  Diets high in fruits and vegetables have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and even some kinds of cancer.  Diets high in fruits and vegetables are also important in maintaining a healthy weight.

Types And Levels Of Nutrients

Since different varieties of fruits and vegetables contain different types and levels of nutrients, it is important to reach a good variety of fruits and vegetables.  Eating a good combination of yellow, orange, red, and green fruits and vegetables is a great way to ensure adequate levels of nutrition.

Fruits and vegetables are also important sources of fiber.  One way to maximize the amount of fiber you get from fruits and vegetables is to eat the entire fruit and vegetable including the edible peel.  Eating fruits and vegetables whole, instead of simply drinking fruit juice, is the best way to enjoy the fiber these foods have to offer.  Orange juice may be very healthy, but it does not contain the same amount of fiber as a whole orange.

Getting sufficient fiber in the diet offers a great many health benefits, including aiding in digestion, lowering levels of cholesterol in the blood, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke, and reducing the chances of some forms of cancer.  In addition, fiber is thought to play an important role in controlling levels of blood sugar in diabetics.  Fiber also helps dieters feel full while limiting the number of calories they consume.

Many people wonder if canned and frozen fruits and vegetables are as healthy and nutritious as fresh varieties.  The simple answer to this question is yes.  Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables contain just as many vitamins and minerals as their fresh counterparts, so it is fine to replace fresh fruits and vegetables with canned and frozen varieties when fresh ones are not available.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are often less expensive, however, especially when they are in season.  In addition, local farmers’ markets and produce stands are often great sources of the freshest, most delicious fruits and vegetables at excellent prices.

How vegetables and fruits are prepared is just as important as how they are chosen.  It is important to rinse fresh fruit and vegetables thoroughly under clean running water.  This step is important in order to remove any dirt, pesticide residue, or bacterial contamination.  The outermost leaves of lettuce and cabbage should be removed, and the outside of root vegetables like carrots and potatoes should be removed, especially if you plan to consume the skins of those vegetables.  Vegetables and fruits should be washed right before they are used in order to keep them as fresh as possible.

The best ways to cook vegetables in order to maintain their freshness are to boil, microwave, or steam the veggies until they are tender and crisp.  It is best to use as little water as possible when cooking vegetables.  That is because overcooking can destroy some of the valuable vitamins and minerals the vegetables contain.

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DISCLAIMER:

This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA-approved they must be accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

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Planning healthy meals for yourself and your family

Planning healthy meals for yourself and your family

Planning healthy meals can be difficult and time-consuming, but with some advanced planning and some basic knowledge of nutrition, it is easy to create a week’s worth of healthy meals that everyone in the family will love.

The key to creating healthy, delicious meals for the family is planning, planning, and planning.  Planning the week’s meals ahead of time is the best way to create meals you can be proud of while keeping cost and time commitment to a minimum.

Convenience devices such as slow cookers and microwaves can be a huge time saver when planning and preparing meals.  There are many delicious and healthy recipes that can be started in the morning and left to cook all day in a crock pot or slow cooker.  These are great choices for working families.

Meals Ahead Of Time

In addition, making the meals ahead of time on the weekend and heating them in the microwave is a great way to stretch both your food and your time.  There are many microwavable healthy meals you can make at home, and single-serving microwave-safe containers allow every member of the family to eat on their own schedule.

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When planning the meals for the week, it is a good idea to create a chart listing each day’s menu and each day’s schedule.  Planning the quickest, easiest-to-prepare meals for the busiest days of the week is a smart strategy.

It is a good idea to involve the entire family in creating the week’s meal plan.  Get everyone’s input and not everyone’s favorite foods.  Of course, that does not mean eating pizza every night or having ice cream for dinner.  It is still important to eat healthy meals, and involving your spouse and children in healthy meal planning is a great way to pique their interest in healthy eating at an early age.

It is also a good idea to get the entire family involved in the preparation of the meals.  Even children too young to cook can help out by setting out the dishes, chopping vegetables, clearing the table, and washing the dishes.

Cooking large quantities of healthy food is a great way to save time.  Cooking large amounts of stews, soups, pasta, chili, and casseroles can be a huge time saver.  Making double and even triple batches of these staple foods, and freezing the leftovers for later use, is a great way to save both time and money.

When freezing leftovers, however, it is important to label the containers carefully, using freezer tape and a permanent marker.  Try to keep the oldest foods near the top to avoid having to throw away expired items.

Stocking up on meats when they are on sale is another great way to use that valuable freezer space.  Stocking up on such easily frozen foods as chicken, turkey, ground beef, steaks, roasts, and chops is a great way to make your food dollar stretch as far as possible while still allowing you and your family to enjoy healthy, delicious meals every day.

Keeping a well-stocked pantry is as important as keeping a well-stocked freezer.  Stocking the pantry with a good supply of staple items like canned vegetables, canned fruits, soup stocks, and the like will make healthy meal preparation much faster and easier.

Stocking the pantry can save you money as well as time.  Grocery stores are always running sales, and these sales are a great time to stock up.  Buying several cases of canned vegetables when they are on sale, for instance, can save lots of money and provide the basic ingredients for many nutritious, easy-to-prepare meals.

Examples of great staples to stock up on include whole-grain cereals, pasta, tomato sauce, baked beans, canned salmon, tuna, and whole-grain bread.  It is easy to combine these staples into many great meals at a moment’s notice.

Eliminate Sleeplessness Naturally and Rejuvenate The Body!

DISCLAIMER:

This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA-approved they must be accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

pile of fish

Using fish as part of a healthy eating plan

Using fish as part of a healthy eating plan

It is hard to beat fish and seafood for high protein and low fat.  Fish has been shown in study after study to have a positive impact on health, and to lower the risk of heart disease and other diseases.  In addition, fish is delicious and easy to prepare.

Many nutrition experts recommend eating fish at least once or twice every week.  The most nutritious varieties of fish, and those that contain the greatest amounts of heart-protecting omega-3 fatty acids, tend to be those that live in cold ocean waters.  These varieties of fish include salmon and sardines.

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The benefits of a fishy diet

Fish has long been thought to have a positive benefit on the heart.  So far the results of clinical studies have been inconclusive, but research into the heart-healthy effects of fish continues.   No matter what the benefits, there is little doubt that fish is a healthy food, containing significant levels of protein and smaller amounts of fat and calories than other types of meat.

As a matter of fact, fish is one of the best sources of protein there is.  Everyone needs protein for building muscles and repairing damaged body tissues.  In addition, protein plays a vital role in the growth of nails and hair, in hormone production, and in many other vital bodily processes. 

In addition to fish, many other animal-based products, such as meat, eggs, poultry, and dairy products, contain significant amounts of protein.  Plant-based sources of protein exist as well, in nuts, beans, and lentils, among others. 

The key to getting sufficient protein in the diet is to balance the healthy effects of protein on the diet against the large amounts of fat and cholesterol that protein-rich foods often contain.  The combination of high protein and low fat is one of the things that makes a diet rich in fish so appealing.

With the exception of salmon, almost all commonly eaten varieties of fish are very low in fat, and even salmon contains lower levels of fat than many varieties of meats.  In addition, fish is low in saturated fat, the type of fat that is most associated with heart disease and clogged arteries. 

Fish is low in unsaturated fat because of the nature of where and how they live.  Instead of storing energy in the form of saturated fat as land animals do, fish store their fat in the form of polyunsaturated oils.  That adaptation allows their bodies to function normally in the cool oceans and streams where they swim.  It also makes them a great choice for anyone seeking to cut levels of saturated fat in the diet.

For all these reasons, fish remains an important part of any low-fat, heart-healthy lifestyle.  Substituting high-fat, greasy foods like hamburgers and ribs is a great way to make a change for healthy living.

One note about fish and pollution, however.  It is true that many fish caught in polluted waters contain high levels of mercury.  While most commercially caught and grown fish is low in mercury, it is important for a fisherman to limit their consumption of locally caught fish.  Pregnant women are also advised to limit their intake of fish, due to the potential harm to the baby.

Fitting fish into your busy lifestyle

Many people avoid fish because they do not know how to prepare and cook it.  While it is true that fish can present more of a challenge for the inexperienced, there are many recipes and cookbooks that make preparation easier.  In addition, many packaged seafood products contain cooking tips and serving suggestions that take some of the mystery out of preparing a nutritious and delicious meal of fresh fish.

Even those who do not cook, however, can enjoy the many benefits of fish in their diet.  There are a number of canned seafood products on the market, including canned salmon, sardines, and the ever-popular tuna.  So there is no reason fish cannot fit into your healthy eating plan.

Eliminate Sleeplessness Naturally and Rejuvenate The Body!

DISCLAIMER:

This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA-approved they must be accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

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Choosing low fat high fiber foods for a healthy diet

Choosing low-fat high fiber foods for a healthy diet

Raising the level of dietary fiber, while lowering the amount of fat in your diet, is one of the most effective changes you can make, both in terms of weight loss and overall health and fitness.  Unfortunately, most people consume too much fat and not enough fiber, and reversing that trend can be difficult even for the most motivated.

A good place to start is by knowing which foods are highest in dietary fiber.  Eating a diet rich in these foods is a good way to boost fiber while lowering fat and other negative dietary elements.

When boosting the amount of fiber in the diet, however, it is best to start gradually in order to let your body adjust. An abrupt change in the amount of fiber in the diet can lead to cramps, abdominal pain, bloating, and gas.

Highest Fiber Food

Among the highest fiber foods are cooked legumes (including dried peas and beans), dried fruits, nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and berries.  These foods all contain more than six grams of fiber per serving.

Plant-Based Cookbook for Beginners

Foods that contain from four to six grams of fiber per serving include a baked potato (with the skin), apples, pears, barley, brown rice, bran muffins, lima beans, snow peas, green peas, and sweet potatoes.

Further down the scale at two to four grams per serving are vegetables, citrus fruits, whole wheat bread, rye bread, and melons.  These foods are still good sources of fiber, but you will need to eat more of them to get the full effect.  That’s fine, though, since they are healthy, nutritious foods in many ways.

In order to enjoy healthier eating habits for life, it is important to make fundamental changes in the way you shop, cook, and eat.  A diet should be more than a temporary change in eating habits; a true dietary change must be one you can follow for a lifetime.

When doing the weekly grocery shopping, get into the habit of hitting the produce section first.  Fill your shopping basket with fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables, as they are rich sources of vitamins and minerals as well as fiber.  Canned fruits and vegetables are good substitutes when the fresh varieties are out of season.

When choosing baked goods, always try to find those made with more nutritious and fiber-rich whole wheat flour, wheat bran, oat bran, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, oatmeal, or raisins.

Become a label reader.  The federally mandated nutritional labels contain a wealth of valuable information for those who take the time to understand them.  Nutritional labels contain valuable information on the calorie content, fiber content, and vitamin content of all packaged foods, and many meats, seafood, and poultry products as well.

Finally, there are some popular myths about fiber.  It is important to dispel these myths as you seek to increase the level of fiber in your diet.

The first myth concerns the relationship of crispness to the level of fiber.  In short, the crispness of food is no indication of the amount of fiber it contains.  For instance, the vegetables commonly used in salads, although crisp, are not significant sources of fiber.  The crunch of the lettuce is a result of the amount of water it contains, not its fiber content.

Many people also think that cooking foods break down fiber – it does not.  Cooking has no effect on the fiber content of foods.  Peeling vegetables and fruits, however, does remove some of the fiber, since the skins of fruits and vegetables contain fiber.  Edible skins, such as apple peels, can be good sources of fiber.

No matter what your reasons for increasing the amount of fiber in your diet, you may well find that this is one of the most positive dietary changes you ever make.  Increasing fiber can have a significant impact on your future health and well-being, and the change is easier to make than many people think.

Eliminate Sleeplessness Naturally and Rejuvenate The Body!

DISCLAIMER:

This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA-approved they must be accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

four trays of varieties of fruits

Eat healthier by eating more fruits and vegetables

Eat healthier by eating more fruits and vegetables

Recent changes in food guidelines have meant an increase in the recommended daily consumption of fruits and vegetables.  That is because eating nutrient-rich, low-calorie, low-fat foods such as fruits and vegetables, has been shown to have a strong impact on overall health.

In addition, high levels of fruits and vegetables in the diet have even been shown to help provide protection from a number of diseases and chronic conditions.  There are ongoing studies on the relationship between a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and the prevention of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions.  While there may not yet be conclusive proof of a link between fruits and vegetables and a lower risk of disease, there is ample anecdotal evidence to suggest that a healthy diet leads to a healthy body.

Plant-Based Cookbook for Beginners

Health Benefits

One reason for the strong health benefits of fruits and vegetables is their strong antioxidant qualities.  Many fruits and vegetables are high in important antioxidant vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin A.  In addition, fruits and vegetables contain lots of other nutrients and trace elements that are important to the proper function of the body.

Choosing the best fruits and vegetables is important, both to your health and the health of your food budget.  We all have limited food budgets, and getting the best in terms of both taste and nutrition is very important.

One way to get maximum value and maximum nutrition is to choose fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables.  That is because fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables tend to be less expensive than their shipped counterparts.

If you have a farmers market or produce stand nearby, it can be an excellent source of the highest quality, lowest cost fruits, and vegetables.  Summer produce stands are excellent sources of delicious and nutritious fruits and vegetables.

In addition, buying fruits and vegetables as they come into the season will instantly provide you with variety.  There are literally hundreds of different varieties of fruits and vegetables at the average grocery store, and they all have a different growing seasons.  Buying fresh in season fruits and vegetables is a great way to introduce yourself to some varieties you may never have tried before.

Of course, there will be times when your favorite fruits and vegetables are not available locally.  In those cases, frozen and canned varieties can do just fine.  Just about every popular fruit and vegetable is available canned or frozen, and these can make wonderful, fast fruit salads or quick snacks.

It is important to choose fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors, and not only for ascetic reasons.  Different colored fruits and vegetables contain different types of nutrients, and different levels of nutrients, so eating a good variety of green, gold, orange, and purple is the best way to ensure adequate levels of nutrition.

How you cook the vegetables you buy is important as well.  Overcooking can destroy many of the nutrients that make vegetables so healthy.  Fortunately, most vegetables can be cooked by quickly steaming them in the microwave or on the stovetop. 

How those cooked vegetables are served can also have a significant impact on their health.  Adding butter, margarine, oils, or other fats to vegetables can quickly negate their health benefits.  Better choices for seasoning cooked vegetables include fruit juices and low-fat yogurt.

Most nutrition experts recommend that everyone eat from 5 to 9 servings of fruits or vegetables every day.  While that may seem like an impossible goal, it is easier when you understand just what a serving consists of.  One serving of a fruit or vegetable can be one medium-sized piece of fruit, one slice of melon, two small pieces of fruit, one cup of strawberries, one cup of grapes, one-half cup of canned fruit, one-half cup of fruit salad, one side salad or one-half cup of fresh fruit juice.

With all these choices to choose from, it is easy to see why fruits and vegetables are such a popular part of a healthy diet.  No matter what your reason for pursuing healthy eating is, fruits, and vegetables are a healthy addition to any diet.

Eliminate Sleeplessness Naturally and Rejuvenate The Body!

DISCLAIMER:

This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA-approved they must be accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

crop man counting dollar banknotes

Eating healthy when money is tight

Eating healthy when money is tight

It is an unfortunate fact of life that many high-nutrient, low-fat, low-calorie foods are expensive, while many nutrient-free, calorie-dense foods are cheap.  This can make buying and cooking healthy foods for yourself and your family quite a challenge, particularly when the food budget is limited.

With some advance planning, however, it is still possible to create a week full of wonderful, nutritious meals, no matter how small your food budget is.  The key is to plan ahead, shop smart, and make the most out of the foods you buy.

Plant-Based Cookbook for Beginners

Planning those meals

In today’s busy world, meal planning often means calling out for a pizza or hitting the drive-through on the way home.  This type of lifestyle has helped to fuel the epidemic of obesity the country has been experiencing.  There is a better way, however.  Simply taking a few minutes a week to plan your family’s meals can make a lot of difference, both in money saved and nutrition gained.

Advance meal planning is a must for any shopper on a budget.  Writing down your meal plans, including the ingredients needed and expected preparation time, will help you plan what to buy and how to cook.  For those with especially busy schedules, planning meals that can be cooked ahead of time and reheated is a huge time and money saver.

Fortunately, many healthy meals, such as vegetable casseroles, pasta dishes, meat dishes, seafood entrees, fruit salads, etc. are great as leftovers.  It is easy to see how advanced meal planning can save you time.  Many working mothers, for instance, will make an entire week’s worth of meals on the weekend, then heat each day’s meals up as the week unfolds.  This is a great strategy for creating a healthy and varied menu the whole family will love.

Hitting the grocery store

Now that you know what meals the coming week will bring, it’s time to hit the grocery store in search of the perfect and most healthy ingredients.  Before you hit the grocery store, however, be sure to check the pantry.  Keeping a well-stocked pantry, and restocking when staples such as canned vegetables and fruits go on sale, is the cornerstone of any healthy eating budget.

After you have gone through the pantry and noted the items you need to buy, it is time to check the sales flyers for your local grocery stores.  Most major grocery store chains include sales flyers in the local newspaper, so be sure to check there for sales on the items you need for your meals.

Going to the grocery store armed with a shopping list is the best way to save both time and money.  The grocery store contains many temptations, and most of them are both unhealthy and expensive.  Sticking to the list is the best way to stay within your budget while providing yourself and your family with wholesome, nutritious food.

Don’t forget to include fresh fruits and vegetables on your shopping list.  Keeping fresh fruits and veggies around for snacks is a great way to eat healthier.

Preparing the meal

After everything has been purchased, the pantry has been restocked, and fresh bowls of fruits and vegetables are arranged for snacking, it is time to start creating that meal on a budget.  As we said before, making meals in bulk for later use during the week is a great strategy for working women, and for those who are pressed for time.  Taking a few hours to mix the ingredients and prepare the food can save a lot of time in the long run.

Of course, for those on a budget saving money is just as important as saving time.  One of the most important ways to save money while still eating a healthy diet is to stock up on those essentials you always seem to run out of.  Try keeping a notepad on the refrigerator or near the sink.   Every time you run out of a certain food, write it on the notepad.  You will probably notice a pattern emerging after a week or two.  So the next time your local grocery store runs a special on one of those things you always need, buy it in bulk and keep a good supply on hand.

Buying in bulk is a great way to save money on many different kinds of healthy foods.  Many people automatically think that the local warehouse club store is the cheapest place to buy bulk items, but this is not often the case.  The weekly specials at the local grocery store often beat those warehouse club prices, often by a large margin.  So be sure to shop around and comparison shop often as you put together those healthy meals.

Eliminate Sleeplessness Naturally and Rejuvenate The Body!

DISCLAIMER:

This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA-approved they must be accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”