Have you ever found yourself reading a food label and wondering what the heck those ingredients are? As a general rule, if you can’t pronounce the name of the ingredient, it’s probably not that good for you — with the exception of quinoa. You should really try quinoa (Keen-wah, in case you’ve never heard it pronounced correctly before).
Your best approach to a healthy diet is eating foods without labels. Those that grow naturally are the best for your body.
Foods That Nurture You
Whole foods nurture your body — think organic chicken breasts, not processed chicken nuggets. Try the foods below to improve your energy and overall health.
- Fruits – Fruits contain fiber, water and vitamins your body needs to function. Try blueberries, which are rich in antioxidants or bananas packed with potassium.
- Vegetables – Like fruits, vegetables fuel your body with fiber, vitamins and minerals. Spinach is loaded with iron and vitamin K, while the rainbow of bell peppers provides your daily dose of vitamin C.
- Whole grains – You have to read labels carefully on these. Look for grains that aren’t processed and that have no added sugar. Try some new ones like bulgar, couscous and the quinoa mentioned above (now that you know how to say it!). And if you’re adding rice to a meal, try brown instead of white.
- Seafood – Seafood is high in protein and low in fat. Fish, in particular, is high in omega-3s, which are essential for good heart and brain health. Opt for wild caught as often as you can.
- Meats – Look for those lower in fats and raised without hormones and antibiotics. If you can find your meats locally, even better! Trim any fat from steaks, and stick to white meat chicken and pork, as they are the leanest cuts.
- Drinks – We all know that water is best. Aim to drink half your body weight a day in ounces of water. When drinking coffee and tea, try drinking it without adding a sweetener, or add honey.
Good Food All Day
Many of my clients say they do really well eating whole foods at their meals, but they struggle at snack time. Here are some of my favorite healthy snack options — many of which you can eat on the go!
- Nuts – Keep a variety on hand, like almonds, cashews and brazil nuts. Nuts contain the good fats and protein to give you a healthy pick-me-up. Divide them into reusable containers, paying close attention to the portion. This way, you can grab them and go when you’re running out the door.
- Popcorn – I’m not talking about the kind loaded with butter, though I know it tastes good. Buy some stovetop popcorn and make it with olive oil or clarified butter. Take a bag with you to work for those afternoon munchies. Popcorn is loaded with fiber and brings a satisfying crunch!
- Dried fruit – While you won’t get the benefits of fruit’s water content, you can get a satisfying, healthy way to curb your sweet tooth. Make sure you purchase fruits with no added sugar.
- Seeds – Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are other great on-the-go snacks. Seeds contain fatty acids, iron, B vitamins and more.
- Hummus and veggies – Hummus is made from chick peas and gives a boost of protein and flavor! Cut up your favorite veggies, like peppers, carrots or celery, to enjoy with this delicious dip.
For more tips on eating without labels, contact me, Karen David. Together we can revamp your diet to increase your energy and improve vitality.
A nurse for more than 25 years, Karen David is a Certified Wellness Coach and Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist. She brings her passion for well living and calm presence to empower others in health and wellness. Karen is CEO of Live Life Well, LLC.
This article is for informational purposes only. Practices, services or products described are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please speak with a doctor before beginning any new health regimen.