While you’re spring-cleaning the rest of your house, don’t forget the kitchen, cupboard and fridge. The best way to get healthy is to have plenty of good food available. We won’t make you throw out all the junk food (everyone needs a little treat now and again), but we'll help you get the advantage when it comes to eating right. What makes the following nutrition tips so surprising? They take you back to the basics -- and they work.
Superfoods are all the rage in the nutrition world, but many of the veggies we all know and love are just as super as acai. Buying seasonal vegetables has the bonus of making sure they’re at their peak, when they’re packing the most nutrients they can. We recommend buying them from the farmers' market so you know exactly how they’re grown (or more importantly, how they’re not grown — with crazy chemicals in unnatural circumstances).
On your next shopping trip, pick up these spring powerhouses.
While just about any seasonal fruit is better for you than cake or cookies, research before you buy to stick with those that have a lower sugar content.
There’s nothing wrong with a little red meat in your diet, but most of us get too much. Cut down to red meat once a week (and keep your portions in control — a serving size is about the size of a deck of cards). Look for fish and chicken instead.
If you’re worried about mercury in your diet from sea creatures, opt for “light” tuna over “white” tuna. White tuna is albacore, which is larger and older when caught, so it’s had more time to accumulate mercury (three times as much)!
When selecting your cuts of chicken, don’t automatically go for white meat. While it’s true that white meat has fewer calories, it also has less iron, zinc, thiamine, riboflavin and vitamins B6 and B12. And as any chef will tell you, it also has more flavor!
If you’re just craving beef, avoid the drive-through and make it at home. Choose cuts with the least amount of visible marbling (fat). The leanest cuts are top sirloin steak, top and bottom roast or steak, eye of round roast or steak, and sirloin tip side steak.
Limit your consumption of organ meat, though, to no more than once a month. Things like liver are packed with cholesterol. If you’re going to eat it, do it on your cheat day and go for gold — fry it up and enjoy, then be extra-good next week.
White bread, even enriched white bread, is only made with one of the three nutritious parts of the wheat berry, the endosperm. That means a lot of the nutrient heavyweights, like fiber, vitamins B6 and E, zinc, chromium, folic acid and magnesium are stripped out.
But don’t just grab for any “wheat” bread on the shelf. You’re looking for bread made with 100 percent whole grains (whole grain or stone-ground, not enriched wheat flour). If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, skip it. It should have 120 calories or fewer, and 3 grams of fiber or more per slice.
Better yet, buy a bread machine and learn to make your own. Once you get the whole yeast thing down, it’s easier than you think! Just look for healthy recipes that don't contain white flour.
We’re sure there were more than a few of the spring superfoods we listed you just don’t like. But there are several ways you can sneak them into your diet.
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