Eating whole, nutritious foods is important for living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A healthy diet can help you reach and maintain an optimal body weight, increase your energy and mood, reduce inflammation, and enable cell repair, which can also help reduce the risk of chronic diseases, like heart disease and cancer.

Five Simple Ways to Eat Healthy

Keep frozen fruits and vegetables in your freezer. Frozen fruits and vegetables are harvested and flash frozen at peak freshness and nutrients, making them just as healthy as the fresh alternative. Plus, they usually offer a longer shelf life than fresh fruits and vegetables!

Frozen vegetables are an easy, time-saving addition to any meal and can be incorporated into stir fries, soups, and other meals just like fresh, raw vegetables. Frozen fruits can easily be thawed under refrigeration and added to salads, yogurts, and oatmeal or kept frozen and added to smoothies or used in baking.

Try sparkling water or plain water that is infused with fruits. Drinking fruit infused water is an easy and delicious way to stay hydrated without increasing your sugar and caloric intake. Simply add 2-3 slices of any citrus to your glass of water or combine a variety of fruits, such as lemons and blueberries or limes and raspberries, together to create tasty, naturally sweet beverages to sip on throughout the day.

Don’t skip breakfast! Eating breakfast jump-starts your metabolism, helping you burn calories throughout the day instead of conserving them. It will also help improve energy, concentration, and memory, making it incredibly important for children. Plus, eating a healthy, balanced breakfast means you are less likely to snack on less nutritious foods throughout the day.

For a simple, healthy breakfast, try a low-sugar whole grain cereal, breakfast smoothie, or plain greek or low-sugar yogurt topped with fruit and granola.

Eat more whole grains. A high fiber diet may help prevent cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as help promote good digestive health. Instead of refined white grains, try making the simple switch to whole grain pastas, rice, and bread to increase your fiber intake. Quinoa is also a great source of fiber that is quick to cook and makes a great foundation for many entrees, such as burrito bowls or a simple chicken and vegetable medley.

Increase your whole fruits intake. Baked goods and other desserts provide very little nutritional value and are loaded with sugar. This causes blood sugar spikes, which leaves you feeling sluggish and hungry for more sugar filled foods. A fruit’s natural sweetness can help curb your sweet tooth and help you stay away from added sugars that are common in processed foods. Eating whole fruits, despite their natural sugar content, has been linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

A healthy, well-balanced diet includes:

  • Vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, kale, and peas

  • Whole fruits, such as blueberries, apples, avocados, and strawberries

  • Whole grains, such as quinoa, barley, brown rice, and oats

  • Lean protein, such as beans, chicken, and fish

Our Nutrition Corner serves as a place to learn about new fruits and vegetables, their benefits and how they can help you, and simple ways to prepare them.

Glossary of Terms

Click on a term to learn more about the benefits of fresh food.

Compounds, such as vitamins A, C, and E, are naturally found in many plant-based foods. These compounds help to stop or delay free radicals, which cause cell damage that has been associated with cancer development.

Highly reactive and unstable compounds that may attach and bind to normal cells in the body and interfere with their ability to function properly. Antioxidants are known to stabilize free radicals.

Nutrients, such as calcium, iron, and sodium, that are found in the earth or water, which are absorbed by plants and animals for proper nutrition. Minerals perform many different tasks for the body, including carrying oxygen throughout the body and building strong bones.

Calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, sodium, chloride, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, iodine, and selenium, molybdenum, chromium, and fluoride

Organic compounds that the body cannot produce enough of on its own, which it must get from food. Vitamins are essential for proper cell and nerve function, growth, and energy.

Click on a category for a tasty recipe

VEGEMITE

What is Vegemite?

Vegemite is a popular Australian spread made from leftover brewer’s yeast, salt, malt extract, B vitamins, and vegetable extract. It has a unique taste that can be described as salty, savory, and malty, and it has a thick, smooth, and spreadable texture that is similar to peanut butter.

Is Vegemite Good for You?

Vegemite is extremely nutritious! One serving (5 teaspoons) of vegemite contains:

  • 3 grams protein
  • Less than 1.0 grams fat
  • Less than 1.0 grams sugar
  • 165 mg sodium
  • 55 mg, or 50% RDI*, thiamine (Vitamin B1)
  • 43 mg, or 25% RDI, riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
  • 5 mg, or 25% RDI, niacin (Vitamin B3)
  • 100 mcg, or 25% RDI, folate (Vitamin B9)

*Recommended Daily Intake; based on a 2079.35 kcal average adult diet.

Vegemite is an excellent source of B vitamins, which play a vital role in many essential bodily functions including energy levels, brain function, and cell metabolism. Getting the recommended amount of B vitamins per day may help reduce symptoms of fatigue, depression, anxiety, and overall mental clarity.

How can I eat Vegemite?

Vegemite is an extremely versatile spread and is easy to incorporate into your daily diet. The traditional way to consume Vegemite is simply by slathering a small amount over a piece of buttered toast! Top that toast with slices of avocado, tomato, cheddar cheese, or eggs (hard boiled slices, over easy, or scrambled are our favorite!) to enhance its nutritional value. This healthy breakfast or mid-day snack is quick and easy to make, and because Vegemite is low in sugar and calories, it’s a great meal to incorporate into your diet if you follow a reduced sugar diet or are trying to lose weight.

Here are some other ways to use Vegemite:

  • Use a little as a condiment for burgers
  • Add to soups or sauces to enhance their savoriness
  • In grilled cheeses or ham sandwiches

Due to its high sodium content, those who follow a low-sodium diet or are at risk of heart disease should talk to their doctor before consuming Vegemite.

VEGETABLES

Why do we need to eat vegetables?

Many vegetables are an important source of essential nutrients including potassium, dietary fiber, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin C. A diet rich in vegetables can lower blood pressure and reduce risk for chronic disease, such as cancer, heart disease, and type-2 diabetes. Most vegetables are naturally low in fat, calories, and cholesterol.

What are some vegetable options?

To maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is recommended to eat 1-4 cups of vegetables a day. Some of the most nutritious and readily available options include:

Spinach

Romaine Lettuce

Kale

Zucchini

Asparagus

Broccoli

Sweet Potatoes, Yams

Butternut Squash

Carrots

Onions

Mushrooms

Beets

FEATURED VEGETABLE OF THE MONTH:

SPINACH

What are its health benefits?

Raw spinach is high in soluble fiber, which helps aid in good digestion and can help reduce cholesterol levels. It is high in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, B6, C, and E, which all help regulate immune function and fight off infections. Spinach is also an excellent source of vitamin K, folic acid, iron, and magnesium.

Recipe: Simple Summer Salad

This salad features the perfect mix of sweet and savory flavors and is packed with nutrients!

Ingredients:

  • 5 oz. spinach
  • 2 cups halved fresh strawberries
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts or sliced almonds
  • ½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup crumbled feta, goat, or blue cheese
  • ½ cup balsamic vinaigrette
  • Optional: 1 fresh avocado (sliced or diced)

Instructions:

Add spinach, strawberries, red onion, walnuts, and half of the cheese to a large bowl.  Drizzle with the vinaigrette, and toss to combine. Add the avocado and the rest of the cheese. Serve immediately.

Notes: This recipe makes approximately 4 servings. If you do not have strawberries on-hand, apples (we like granny smith the best!) work just as well in this recipe.

FRUITS

Why do we need to eat whole, fresh fruits?

Many whole fruits are an important source of essential nutrients, including Vitamin C, antioxidants, potassium, dietary fiber, folate, and are naturally low in fat, cholesterol, sodium, and calories. Regularly consuming whole fruits can decrease the risk of many diseases as well as help support a healthy weight loss and management plan.

How should we be consuming fruits?

It is recommended that you obtain your daily intake of fruits by eating them whole, rather than drinking juices, which may be filled with added sugars, or blended drinks, which can lose some of its fiber during the blending process. Both juices and smoothies can affect one’s blood sugar as the higher sugar concentration is more quickly absorbed by the body, which can cause blood sugar spikes.

What are some whole fruit options?

To maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is recommended to eat at least 1 cup of whole fruits a day. Most whole fruits have a low to moderate Glycemic Index (GI), making them a healthy choice for diabetics to consume as well. Some of the most nutritious and readily available options include

Apple*

Avocado*

Banana

Blueberries*

Cantaloupe*

Cherries*

Grapes*

Orange*

Pear*

Strawberries*

* Has a low GI

FEATURED FRUIT OF THE MONTH:

STRAWBERRY

What are the health benefits?

Strawberries are packed with immunity-boosting nutrients like vitamin C, manganese, and potassium. In fact, just one serving of 5 large strawberries or 8 medium-sized strawberries contains over 90% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C, which is more than an orange! Additionally, strawberries contain many antioxidants that may improve heart health, lower blood sugar levels, and help prevent cancer. Despite being sweet, strawberries have a relatively low GI and should not cause big spikes in blood sugar levels.

Suggested use:

Eat as a standalone snack, add to smoothies, use as a topping on salad, yogurt, or oatmeal.

Recipe: Immunity-Boosting Mixed Berry Salad

This salad is easy to make at home for snacking or is great to take to any picnic or barbecue!

Ingredients:

  • 1 container (8 oz.) sliced strawberries
  • 1 container (1 pint/2 cups) blueberries
  • 1 container (6 oz.) raspberries
  • 1 container (6 oz.) blackberries
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped mint leaves

Instructions:

Wash fruit and then remove the tops of the strawberries and slice each in half. Add to your serving bowl with the chopped mint, toss to mix evenly, and serve immediately.

Note: For a brighter flavor, toss the salad with 2 tablespoons of fresh-squeezed lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of honey.

WHOLE GRAINS

Why do we need to eat whole grains?

Whole grains are an important source of many nutrients, including fiber, B vitamins, minerals, such as iron, magnesium, and selenium, and phytochemicals. Consuming whole grains help reduce the risk of chronic diseases as well as help with weight management due to their high fiber content, which will help you feel fuller for longer with fewer calories. Choosing whole grains over refined grains also helps those with diabetes control their blood sugar as they have a lower glycemic index (GI) and take longer to digest.

What makes up a whole grain?

  • Bran – Fiber-rich outer layer of the grain. In addition to fiber, it contains many important minerals and B vitamins.
  • Endosperm – Largest part of the grain and the least nutritious. It contains starchy carbohydrates, some protein, and a small amount of vitamins and minerals.
  • Germ – The embryo, or core, of the grain that is filled with nutrients. It contains many B vitamins, vitamin E, phytochemicals, minerals, and healthy fats.

What is the difference between a whole grain and a refined grain?

The milling process refine a grain removes the bran and the germ, leaving only the endosperm, which is easy to chew and digest but has very little nutritional value. The milling also removes most of the fat content in the grain, which gives refined grains their long shelf life. Examples of refined grains are white rice and white flour.

What are some some whole grain options?

There are many different whole grain options to choose from. Some of the most nutritious and readily available sources include:

Barley

Brown Rice*

Old Fashioned Oats

Quinoa

Spelt

Steel -cut Oats

Rye

Wild Rice

Wheat Berries

FEATURED GRAIN OF THE MONTH:

MILLET

What is it?

Millet is a naturally gluten-free ancient whole grain that is packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals. When cooked, it is similar in shape, size, and texture to quinoa and has a mildly sweet, corn-like flavor.

What are its health benefits?

Millet is a starchy, protein- and fiber-rich grain, with 1 cup of cooked millet containing approximately 6 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. Millet is made up of complex carbs to keep you fuller for longer and has a low GI to help control blood sugar levels, making it a great grain for diabetics to consume. It is also rich in immunity-boosting antioxidants and nutrients, like calcium, zinc, folic acid, niacin, and magnesium.

How to prepare:

Bring 2 cups of water in a pot to a boil. Add ¼ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt and 1 cup of millet, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for approximately 15 minutes, until most of the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff before serving. Any leftover cooked millet can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Notes:

  • 1 cup dry millet yields 3 ½ cups cooked millet.
  • For a nuttier flavor, dry-toast the millet in a frying pan for 3-5 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.
  • The above instructions will make a quinoa-style texture. To prepare a creamier, porridge-like texture, increase the amount of water to 3 cups and stir the millet every few minutes as it simmers.

Suggested use:

Serve as a healthy side dish or as a base to a variety of entrees and grain salads.

LEAN PROTEIN

Why do we need to eat protein

Protein is essential for cell maintenance and repair, healthy hormone functions, and helps build muscles as well as antibodies for your immune system to better fight off infections. Protein also helps regulate blood sugar and keeps you feeling fuller for longer, which is why it’s important to eat when managing a healthy weight.

What is lean protein?

The USDA defines a lean protein source as having less than 10 grams of total fat. Lean proteins typically have fewer calories per serving than other sources of protein because of their lower fat content.

What are some lean protein options?

There are many different plant-based and animal-based lean protein sources to choose from. Some of the most nutritious and readily available sources include:

White Meat Chicken

Ground Turkey

Beans, Peas, Lentils

Eggs and Egg Whites

Almonds

Tuna

Cod

Salmon

Tofu

Plain Greek Yogurt

FEATURED PROTEIN OF THE MONTH:

ALMONDS

What are its health benefits?

One serving of raw almonds contains approximately 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. They are high in antioxidants that help protect against oxidative stress, which can damage the cells in your body and contribute to inflammation and major diseases like heart disease and cancer. It’s particularly high in vitamin E, which helps repair damaged cells and the immune system fight infections.

Suggested Uses

Eat as a standalone snack, as a topping on salad, yogurt, and oatmeal, or use to create a homemade trail mix.

Suggested Recipe: Healthy Homemade Trail Mix

Homemade trail mix is a convenient and healthy snack for having when on the go and it is extremely easy to make!

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts
  • ½ cup raw or dry roasted unsalted almonds
  • ½ cup raw unsalted cashews
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds (or ½ cup of each)
  • 1 cup no sugar added dried fruit (raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, dried apricot, or dried mango)
  • ¼ cup chopped dark chocolate (70% cacao or more)

Instructions:

Add ingredients to a large bowl and stir to combine. Store in an airtight container.