Simple Ways to Eat Healthier
by Monique N. Gilbert, B.Sc.
The key to optimum health is learning the difference
between healthy and unhealthy nutrients. Our
food choices have a significant effect on our
health. Making a few simple healthy and nutritious
changes in our dietary choices can have a profound
and positive impact on our health, well-being,
energy levels and life span.
HEALTHY & UNHEALTHY PROTEINS, FATS
Healthy proteins provide the amino acids our
bodies require to build and repair lean body
mass (like muscles, skin, hair and nails), and
are low in saturated fat, cholesterol and chemicals.
Good sources include wild salmon, beans, legumes,
soy products (tofu, tempeh, TVP), seeds (sunflower,
pumpkin), nuts (walnuts, almonds, peanuts) and
Unhealthy proteins are loaded with saturated
fat, cholesterol, hormones, or antibiotics (like
beef, lamb, bacon and sausage). While they give
your body the needed amino acids, they also
clog arteries and compromise your immune system.
Healthy fats are unsaturated fats (mono and
poly), omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Good
sources of these fats include extra virgin olive
oil, canola oil, ground flax seeds and walnuts.
They help your body absorb fat-soluble antioxidant
micronutrients like vitamins A, E, D, and K,
Unhealthy fats are saturated fats and trans
fatty acids (trans fats), like butter and margarine.
These fats contribute to heart disease, stroke,
high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, hypertension
Healthy carbohydrates are high in fiber and
are considered complex carbohydrates. Good sources
include rolled oats, brown rice, whole wheat,
broccoli, squash, green leafy vegetables, sweet
potatoes, beans and whole fruit. These help
lower cholesterol, aide digestion, regulate
blood sugar and insulin levels, and reduce caloric
Unhealthy carbohydrates are high in sugar and
are called simple carbohydrates, like candy,
white bread, sodas, ice cream, cake and cookies.
These spike blood sugar and insulin levels,
and increase caloric intake (they are considered
Eating nutrient-dense foods that are high in
antioxidants, phytochemicals and fiber help
the body function optimally, promote overall
well-being and improve digestion. These nutrients
also help fight and prevent heart disease, cancer
and diabetes, strengthens the immune system,
slows the aging process, increases energy and
improves cognitive performance.
Additionally, as we age our appetite lessens,
making it even more critical to choose foods
wisely. When every bit counts, picking foods
with the highest nutritional profile is more
important than ever.
An easy way to make your nutritional choices
is to look for foods that are bright in color,
for they usually contain more beneficial vitamins,
minerals and phytochemicals. For example, red
and pink grapefruit have the heart-healthy cancer-fighting
antioxidant phytochemical called lycopene while
white grapefruit does not.
7 SIMPLE WAYS TO EAT HEALTHIER
1. Switch from iceberg lettuce to romaine
Romaine lettuce has more vitamins and minerals
like vitamins A and C, thiamine, riboflavin,
calcium and potassium. It also has more fiber
than iceberg lettuce.
2. Eat brown rice instead of white rice.
Brown rice naturally has more fiber and riboflavin,
and less sugars than white rice. It is digested
slower and is more filling.
3. Switch from white bread to whole-wheat or
Whole-wheat and whole-grain breads have more
fiber, iron and potassium. Slice per slice,
they are more filling and satisfying than white
4. Drink iced teas (black, green and herbal)
instead of sodas.
Black, green and herbal teas provide antioxidants
and phytochemicals that enhance your health.
Unlike sodas, you can control the sugar content
when brewing your own iced teas.
5. Choose whole-grain or whole-wheat cereals
with bran instead of sugar-coated cereals.
Whole-grain cereals and whole-wheat cereals
with bran naturally have more protein, fiber,
calcium, iron, vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin,
and niacin than sugar frosted cereals. Besides
having less sugar, they are metabolized slower
and are more filling. So you have more energy
during the day and you will not get hungry right
6. Switch from cows milk to fortified soymilk.
Soymilk contains no cholesterol or hormones,
and is extremely low in saturated fat. It also
provides isoflavones and other beneficial phytochemicals
that promote good health. Fortified soymilks
also contain easy to absorb calcium, vitamins
D and B6, and some even add extra antioxidants
(like vitamins A, C, and E), folate and omega-3.
7. For dessert, have frozen fruit sorbet instead
of ice cream.
Frozen fruit sorbet is fat and cholesterol free
and has more fiber. It is also loaded with antioxidant
vitamins A and C, and contains beneficial phytochemicals.
To get you started, try this deliciously nutritious
homemade sorbet recipe by Monique N. Gilbert.
It's cholesterol-free, and high in antioxidants
Strawberry Orange Sorbet
1-1/2 cups frozen strawberries
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup fortified soymilk
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
1 tablespoon honey
Blend in a food processor or blender for 1-2
minutes, until smooth and creamy. Place in the
freezer until ready to serve.
Makes about 2 servings
Monique N. Gilbert, B.Sc. is
a Health, Nutrition, Weight-Loss & Lifestyle
Coach; Certified Personal Trainer/Fitness Counselor;
Recipe Developer; Freelance Writer and Author
of Virtues of Soy: A Practical Health Guide
and Cookbook. She has offered guidance in natural
health, nutrition, fitness, weight-loss and
stress management since 1989. You can contact
Monique at http://www.MoniqueNGilbert.com/