Staying committed to resolutions can be hard — especially in the kitchen. Finding healthy choices in the supermarket can be a snap when you know what to look for. When filling my basket and making meals at home, I really try to make every bite count by being selective about what I buy and maximizing my daily nutrient intake through food. Below are a few tips I live by:
- Choose whole, unprocessed foods.
- Build your meals around plants — beans, nuts, and legumes are great sources of plant-based protein.
- Eat a colorful variety of plants that are rich in micronutrients to ensure you're getting the best nutrients for your body. Check this ANDI guide for a list of the most nutrient-rich foods.
- Get healthy fats from nuts, seeds, and avocados instead of extracted oils (like canola) and processed fats (like margarine), which contain little nutritional value compared to calories.
- Eliminate artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, sweeteners and hydrogenated fats from your diet.
Whenever possible, I try to get my vitamins naturally from food. Sure, you can buy vitamins or supplements to fulfill your needs, but you can also incorporate more fruits, veggies, and whole food sources that pack a nutritional punch. Plant-based eating tastes delicious, but it also makes you feel great. Here are five popular examples of essential nutrients found in plants along with some recipe inspiration:
- Iron — Great for energy, which is welcomed when fighting those winter afternoon blues. Soybeans, lima beans, and kidney beans are a great alternative to meat when selecting an iron-heavy food to pair with vitamin C to increase absorption.
- B vitamins — These are essential for supporting a healthy immune system, which tends to sway a bit throughout the winter months. Whole grains, leafy greens, and even dried beans are bursting with B’s! Not sure how to get your greens? This cooking video gives you three great examples.
- Vitamin C — This vitamin is tried and true when it comes to combating winter sniffles. You can power up with red, orange, yellow, and green bell peppers for this essential nutrient!
- Calcium — Boost your body with this bone strengthening vitamin. Cooked spinach and tofu can also provide high levels of the recommended daily value.
- Potassium — Eases stress and aids muscle strength. Try snacking on dried apricots and dates, or incorporate white beans and beet greens into your meals.
— Jess Kolko