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.
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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.
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:
Sweet Potatoes, Yams
FEATURED VEGETABLE OF THE MONTH:
What are its health benefits?
Broccoli is an extremely nutritious cruciferous vegetable, which is a family of vegetables that also includes brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, and turnips. It is high in fiber and many vitamins and minerals. It even has one of the highest protein content than most vegetables, with 1 cup containing 3 grams of protein. Broccoli contains high levels of vitamin C, an antioxidant that is important for immune function and skin health, potassium, a mineral that helps with blood pressure control, and vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting.
How to prepare: Broccoli can be eaten raw or cooked. When cooked, it does lose some of its nutritional value, especially its levels of vitamin C. Steaming is the cooking method which retains most of broccoli’s nutritional value.
Suggested use: Raw broccoli with a side of ranch dressing or hummus is a great snack to eat during the day or perfect addition to any packed lunch! You can also add raw broccoli to salads, vegetable trays, and stir fries and other skillet meals to cook. Cooked broccoli is an easy, nutritious side to virtually any meal and can also be added rice and quinoa bowls.
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
* Has a low GI
FEATURED FRUIT OF THE MONTH:
What are the health benefits?
Peaches are a stone fruit, which means that their flesh surrounds one large middle stone, or pit. Some other stone fruits are nectarines, cherries, and plums. When unpeeled, peaches are high in fiber, which may aid in digestion, as well as rich in antioxidants like vitamin A and C that can help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancers.!
Peaches are great for eating on their own or slicing and adding to yogurt, cereals, oatmeal, salads, or smoothies. You can even gently mash them and add sparkling water for a refreshing, low-sugar and low-carb drink! They can be eaten raw, baked, grilled, broiled, or sauteed.
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:
Old Fashioned Oats
Steel -cut Oats
FEATURED GRAIN OF THE MONTH:
OLD-FASHIONED / ROLLED WHOLE GRAIN OATS
What are its health benefits?
Old-fashioned oats, or rolled oats, are a whole grain that are high in fiber and protein. Whole oats are also high in antioxidants and plant compounds that can help reduce blood pressure levels, cholesterol levels, and inflammation.
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
Beans, Peas, Lentils
Eggs and Egg Whites
Plain Greek Yogurt
FEATURED PROTEIN OF THE MONTH:
What are its health benefits?
Pinto beans are high in protein and fiber content, are low in fat, and are a good source of essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B1, vitamin B6, manganese, and phosphorus. They also may help reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
How to Rinse and Cook Dried Pinto Beans:
- Place the beans in a colander or strainer and rinse them under cold running water.
- Soak the beans in water overnight, at least 8 hours.
- Drain and rinse well.
- Place the beans in a pot and cover with fresh, cold water or stock.
- Simmer at medium-low heat until the beans are tender, approximately 2-3 hours.
Commonly used in a variety of Mexican and Southwestern recipes, pinto beans have an earthy, nutty flavor and a creamy texture when cooked. They can either be eaten whole or mashed to create refried beans. They can easily be incorporated into soups, stews, chilis,