Improving health and wellness from the inside out!
Getting the proper nutrition is extremely vital to long term health and wellness. A great way to get plenty of nutrients is to increase the amount of plant-based food that you consume while decreasing the amount of animal products you consume. The American Heart Association says consuming less meat will decrease the risk of many diseases and cancers such as heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity. Getting enough fruits and vegetables is important because they contain phytonutrients which are responsible for adding the bright beautiful colors to our fruit and vegetables! They protect the plants and help protect us. Phytonutrients are very powerful in preventing cancer, heart disease and helping to boost our immune system. It’s important to try to get a variety of colors in our meals every day, just think of the colors in the rainbow and try to eat a little fruit or vegetable from each group of colors. Here are some ideas!
• Red: tomatoes, red bell pepper, strawberries, raspberries, apples, pomegranate
• Orange: oranges, orange bell pepper, cantaloupe, butternut squash, carrots
• Yellow: banana, lemon, pineapple, summer squash
• Green: muskmelon, spinach, collard greens, kale, green bell pepper, lime, kiwi
• Blue: blueberries, blackberries, plums, elderberry
• Purple: eggplant, purple cabbage, purple potatoes, purple grapes
• *Bonus color* White: Onions, garlic, potatoes, cauliflower
Beans, legumes and grains also play an important role in a nutritious diet by offering a variety of vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein without the saturated fat that is found in animal products. Nuts and seeds are also a great source of vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein and have also been shown to improve blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce inflammation in the body. Here is a small list of a few of my favorites!
• Black beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, northern beans, lentils
• Quinoa, oats, brown rice, barley
• Cashews, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds
Looking for a few ways to add extra plant-based foods to meals, check out these tips:
• Salads are a great way to add a variety of colors together, you can combine fruits and vegetables with nuts, seeds and legumes! Combinations are endless.
• Spaghetti sauce-try different squash (summer squash, butternut squash), onions, and bell peppers. Try blending a can of beans in with your favorite sauce or plant-based noodles such as chickpea or black bean noodles.
• Sandwiches can easily be loaded with a variety of vegetables and can even be made without any meat! Try a “no-tuna chickpea sandwich” or hummus sandwich.
• Oatmeal can be topped with a variety of fruits like apples, berries and peaches as well as additional seeds and nuts
• Soups can easily be helpful to blend a mixture of vegetables together
• Smoothies are great because you can do both fruits and vegetables together
How many colors can you add to your meal plan this week?