Tag Archives: nutrition tips

100 Nutrition Tips

Today, I have reached a blogging landmark: my 100th post!  In honor of this occasion, I have decided to share with you 100 nutrition tips. Each tip is from one of my previous posts, starting with my very first post and working up to today.  Each tip’s number links back to the original post.  If you see a tip you like and want to read more, just click on the number.  Enjoy!

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Whole Foods for Better Health

Nutrition advice can seem confusing, but in reality, it can usually be boiled down to one simple piece of advice: Enjoy a variety of whole foods for better health.

What are “whole foods?”

Whole foods are foods that are as close to their natural form as possible, with minimal processing and refinement.  Foods created by mother nature contain countless nutritional benefits, such as fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.  Foods created by humans in a laboratory (processed foods) contain only a few of those nutrients, and usually a great deal more of unhealthy additives, such as sodium, trans fat, preservatives, and added sugar.

Whole Foods vs. Processed Foods

The below list shows some examples of whole foods vs. processed foods.  The best, whole food choices are in the left-hand column.  The more processed the food, the fewer nutrients and greater number of unhealthy added ingredients it contains.

Whole Food Processed Food Highly Processed Food
Apple Apple juice Apple-flavored fruit chew
Baked potato Instant mashed potato French fries, potato chips
Brown rice White rice Rice-a-Roni
Chicken breast Chicken deli meat Chicken nuggets
Corn Corn flakes, tortilla chips Soda (contains high fructose corn syrup)
Edamame (soybeans) Soy protein powder Energy bar, margarine (partially hydrogenated soybean oil)
Nuts Roasted, salted nuts Nutter Butter cookie
Oatmeal Instant oatmeal Chewy oatmeal bar
Whole grain pasta Regular (refined) pasta Ramen noodles
Whole wheat flour White flour Donut, cupcake

Finding Whole Foods

Check the list of ingredients:  In general, healthier food products contain a short list of ingredients that sound like food (and not like chemicals).  Healthy ingredients to look for include: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and skim milk.  Ingredients to watch out for include: sugar, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils and enriched flour.  Keep in mind that some of the healthiest food items do not contain nutrition labels at all, like fruits and vegetables!

Find a farmer’s market: Visit your local farmers market for some of the best-tasting whole foods on the planet.  Visit http://www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets/ for market times and locations.

Enjoying Whole Foods

If you are accustomed to eating highly processed foods, it may take a little while for you to learn to appreciate the taste of whole foods.  Your taste-buds are likely used to intensely sweet or salty flavors, rather than the subtle  complexities of whole foods.  Hang in there!  The average life-span of a taste-bud is 3 weeks. You can train your taste-buds to appreciate whole foods.  Here are some tips to help you out:

  • Spice it up!  Spices can add flavor and nutrition to food.  Cinnamon, allspice, cloves, cardamom, mace or nutmeg bring out the sweetness in whole foods.  Black pepper, garlic, curry, cumin, basil, ginger, and onion can replace salt and bring out savory flavors.
  • Try new cooking methods:  Cooking whole foods (like fruits and vegetables) can bring out their natural sweetness.  Experiment with multiple cooking methods and recipes before deciding that you dislike a food.   Try foods grilled, poached, steamed, roasted, baked, or sauteed.  Some examples include:
    • Grilled peaches, apples or pears sprinkled with cinnamon
    • Steamed green beans drizzled with olive oil and toasted almonds
    • Eggplant and zucchini stewed in tomato sauce or pesto
    • Roasted corn on the cob
    • Mixed Asian vegetables sauteed with garlic and ginger
  • Keep it convenient: Eating whole foods doesn’t have to be time-consuming or inconvenient.  Try some of these time-saving whole foods and cooking techniques:
    • Pre-chopped vegetables for stir-fry
    • Whole fruit and nuts: easy grab-and-go snacks that require no prep-work
    • Quick-cooking oatmeal or instant (par-boiled) brown rice
    • Whole-grain bread for sandwiches or toast
    • Bagged salad kits
    • Fish filets and chicken breast cook in minutes on a George Foreman grill
    • Cook a large batch of soup, stew or chili and enjoy all week long

How do you find and enjoy whole foods?

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Eat Your Way to Happiness: Book Review

imageEat Your Way to Happiness, by Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD, is a fun read that is packed with good nutrition advice.  There is no doubt our lifestyle and food choices can affect our mood.  However, with my newfound Health at Every Size approach to health, I’m skeptical that this book will make you “blissfully thin,” a term to which the book constantly alludes.  I think that self-acceptance, combined with the habits promoted in the book, will make you blissful at weight that’s healthy for you.

Nevertheless, I highly recommend this book for it’s terrific nutrition advice and explanation of how food affects our mood.  Some of my favorite nutrition “secrets” in this book are:

  1. Eat Real 75% of the Time: “Eating real” means choosing foods that are as close to their natural form as possible, with minimal processing and refinement.
  2. Follow the 1-2-3 Rule for Breakfast:
    1. One to three servings of a quality, high-fiber carbohydrate
    2. Two servings of fruits or vegetables
    3. One protein or dairy
  3. Choose High Quality Carbs: As in whole grains, not refined.
  4. Adopt the 6% Solution: Aim for only 6% of your total calories to come from added sugar.  Not 25%, which is where the average American is at right now.  For a 2000-calorie diet, 6% translates to 30 grams (2 Tablespoons) of added sugar.  This does not include sugar found naturally in fruit or dairy, so eat plenty of these!
  5.  Sprinkle it with Super Mood Foods: Amp up your already healthy diet by sprinkling in some “super mood foods.”  These include:
    • Leafy greens
    • Nuts and legumes
    • Dark orange veggies
    • Berries and citrus fruits
    • And many more!
  6. The One Habit Your Must Embrace to Be Happy, Fit and Healthy: Exercise.  Period.  According to Somer, "Nothing you do will have as big an impact on your weight, as well as your mood and health both today and in the future, as exercise.”  Exercise gives you a natural endorphin rush, boosts self-confidence, fights fatigue, soothes stress and enhances sleep, all which lead to improved mood.

Learn more at the book’s website: Eat Your Way To Happiness.  Also available on Amazon.

Eat Your Way to Happiness Video