So now that you know what foods are nutrient-rich, meaning that they contain micronutrients, or vitamins and minerals, that your body needs to battle chronic illnesses, it’s time to have a look at breaking them down into the proper amounts that you should have to maintain a healthy balance.
Obviously, fresh fruits and vegetables are good choices, as are legumes, nuts, fish, seeds, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat and fat-free dairy products. These are all full in micronutrients and do the body good. By USDA standards, an adult daily diet should include three ounces of whole grains and six ounces of grains total. You’ll also want two cups of fruit and two and a half cups of vegetables to go along with your five and a half ounces of protein. Additionally you’ll need three cups of fat-free or low-fat dairy. Now these are just numbers. How do you go about accomplishing all this without going insane?
To start off, you’ll want to know that whole grains are not only low in fat, they are high in fiber and complex carbs that help you feel fuller for a longer period so that you won’t feel the need to overeat at your next meal or snack. When buying cereal or bread, check to see that the grains are whole. Some good places to look are rolled oats, brown rice, steel cut oats, whole-wheat pasta, whole-grain crackers, barley, quinoa, whole-wheat tortillas, whole-grain breads, buckwheat, whole corn, cracked wheat, and whole-grain rolls. You basically know what to look for in fruits and veggies, but it is good to remember that they add flavor, nutrients, and color to any meal.
Even though organic may cost more, it can be a great idea to invest in organic fruits and veggies as they are highly nutritious and free of chemicals like pesticides. Better to pay a little extra now than a whole lot more later in medical bills. In addition to broccoli and dark leafy greens, you have a whole variety of choices from cauliflower to kale to lettuce to squash to asparagus to papaya to cherries to grapefruit to peaches to pears. The list goes on and on. Take a trip on the wild side and try some bok choy! As for fish, well, if you know about your omega-3s, you already know that tuna and salmon are going to be high on your list. It’s safe to say that on meat you’ll want to remove skins and fats before cooking. And as for dairy, try replacing cream cheese with skim ricotta. You can use it as a spread or in dips and desserts. String cheese is great for a snack as it is low in fat and high in calcium. Yogurt is really great. Top it off with some fruit and nuts and you’re in business!