Eating healthy is important for everyone – and I bet: you know that already…
Plus: one of the most important keys to eating a better diet is eating more fruits and vegetables. I bet again: you knew that too. But:
Many people are unsure how to use vegetables more effectively as part of their diet, but it may be easier than you think to provide yourself and your family with healthy, nutritious meals at a great prices!
One way to create wonderful meals that are healthier than ever is to take a stroll through the produce section of your local grocery store.
Most major grocery store chains have huge produce sections, containing a wonderful variety of fruits and vegetables from all corners of the world.
Trying a variety of different fruits and vegetables is a great way to keep your meals interesting and exciting in addition to nutritious. It is all too easy to become bored when trying to follow a healthy diet, and boredom can lead people to abandon their healthy habits.
Avoiding diet burnout is important to the long term survival of even the most sensible eating plan.
So if you’ve never had vegetables like collard greens, asparagus or kale before, why not give them a try. Not only can trying new things allow you to make great new discoveries, but it can increase your level of fitness as well. Leafy green vegetables like spinach, broccoli and kale are rich sources of many important vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients.
Another great way to increase the variety of vegetables you enjoy is to combine fresh, frozen and canned vegetables. While fresh vegetables are generally better and healthier, frozen and canned vegetables can be great alternatives for when the fresh varieties are out of season.
One of the best things about fresh fruits and vegetables is the great variety of flavors, colors and textures available. Eating a variety of different colored vegetables and fruits does much more than provide much needed variety. It also provides a great variety of nutrients.
For instance, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables tend to be very high in beta carotene, while green leafy vegetables are often great sources of calcium and other important nutrients. So why not spice up your plain old green salad with a splash of color in the form of yellow peppers or orange carrot slices?
Many people wrongly think that they can make up for a crappy diet by using vitamin and mineral supplements. This mistaken belief is apparently very widespread, since sales of these supplements continue to break records.
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When considering vitamin and mineral supplements, however, it is important to remember that foods contain many different minerals, trace elements and other micronutrients.
That means that for every nutrient that has been discovered and synthesized, there may be ten, twenty or more of these micronutrients that have yet to be fully understood. That is why no vitamin supplement, no matter how complete, can truly replace a healthy, balanced diet.
In addition, vitamin and mineral supplements are quite a bit more expensive than a good selection of vegetables and fruits, and not nearly as tasty.
When changing your diet and eating for a healthier lifestyle, it is important to educate yourself about eating right, and go choose the right fruits and vegetables for your tastes. After all, the best diet is the one you can follow for the rest of your life.
One of the best ways to start eating a healthy diet is to choose the freshest fruits and vegetables. Not only do fresh fruits and vegetables taste better, but they are less expensive and more nutritious as well. Choosing a variety of in season fruits and vegetables every week is a great way to enjoy healthy and varied meals.
Of course your favorite fruits and vegetables will not always be in season, so it will sometimes be necessary to supplement those fresh fruits and vegetables with canned and frozen varieties. When choosing canned fruits, try to avoid those packed in syrup; choose canned fruits packed in fruit juice or water instead. They will be healthier and contain less sugar.
Adding fresh fruit, such as apple slices, mandarin oranges, nectarines and the like is a great way to make plain salads more interesting and more delicious. Combining fruits and vegetables is a great way to enhance your nutrition as well.
The new food guidelines issued by the United States government recommend that all Americans eat between five and nine servings of fruits and vegetables each and every day. When you first hear that number, it may seem like a lot, but it is actually much easier than you think to fit that many servings of fruits and vegetables into your daily diet. For one thing, the shelves of the grocery stores are fairly bursting with fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition, vegetables and fruits are some of the least expensive, most nutrient rich, foods in the supermarket. With all these fruits and vegetables to choose from, it is very easy to make these nutritious, delicious foods part of your daily meals and snacks.
When you take into account how much a serving really is, it is actually quite easy to get five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day. For instance, the recommended daily amount actually equates to a quite reasonable two cups of fruit and two and a half cups of vegetables every day. When you consider how many fruits and vegetables are available, and how low the prices usually are, it is easy to see how easy to reach this daily goal really is.
One great way to get the nutrients you need from fruits and vegetables every day is to take full advantage of the variety of these foods available. Eating the same thing every day quickly becomes boring, so why not pick a variety of fruits and vegetables, in every color of the rainbow and in every conceivable shape, size and texture, to give yourself a varied diet every day.
When shopping for fruits and vegetables, it is important to choose a variety of different colors. This is for more than purely artistic reasons. Different color fruits and vegetables have different types of nutrients, and choosing a variety of colors will help ensure you get all the vitamins and minerals you need each and every day.
Finding new recipes is another great way to ensure you get those five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Everyone likes to try out new recipes, and these new recipes may just provide the impetus you need to eat all those fruits and veggies.
New recipes can also provide you the important opportunity to try out some fruits and vegetables you have never tried before. For instance, everyone has eaten oranges, but have you tried kiwi fruit or mangoes? How about spinach or kale? Trying new things is a great way to find new favorites while getting the best nutrition available.
Many people mistakenly think that they do not need to eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day if they just take a vitamin supplement. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. That is because fruits and vegetables contain far more than the micronutrients identified by science and synthesized in vitamin pills. While these micronutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin E are important to good health, so too are the hundreds of other elements that are contained in healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. These elements are not available in any pill, they must be ingested through a healthy, balanced diet that contains plenty of fruits and vegetables.
In addition, fruits and vegetables are much less costly than vitamin pills. Fruits and vegetables are very inexpensive, especially when purchased in season and grown locally. In the long run, getting the nutrition you need from the food you eat is much less expensive, and much better for you, than popping those vitamin pills every day.
So don’t forget to get your five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day. It may seem like a lot, but you can meet this quite reasonable goal simply by including fruits and vegetables as snacks, as garnishes, as side dishes and as meals.
Vegetarians have long reported the benefits of tofu food – a soy product that is often used as a meat alternative in a variety of dishes. But the benefits of tofu food have reached beyond the vegetarian community as more and more health-conscious eaters have turned their attention to this versatile product. Tofu food lends itself to a variety of delicious uses and, as such, continues to be a staple in many household kitchens.
Made from soybean curd that is pressed into blocks, tofu food has a variety of uses depending on its different moisture content. Derived directly from soy milk, soft tofu contains the highest moisture content of all varieties of tofu. Its texture is likened to custard and as such it lends itself to a multitude of dessert recipes. Firm tofu contains less moisture than its soft counterpart and because it can hold its shape better is often used as a staple in most tofu food recipes. Dried tofu is extremely low in moisture likening it to cooked meat. Most cooks use this tofu food crumbled, sliced, or formed into noodles. Tofu food also has the ability to be frozen – or made into a puree – so that it can be used anytime throughout the week in whatever capacity it is needed.
But the versatility of tofu food ultimately lies in its flavor – or lack thereof. Tofu actually has very little of its own natural flavor. Instead, it absorbs the flavor from the other ingredients in the dish. Served in soups, as a filling or stuffing, raw, stewed, fried, or grilled, tofu food can be used in a multitude of cuisines.
But most importantly, the health benefits of tofu food are difficult to ignore. Low in calories and high in protein, tofu contains no cholesterol and in some cases has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. It’s no wonder that more and more people have begun to include tofu food as a part of their healthy lifestyle.
More and more people are contemplating a lifestyle change in terms of the foods they eat. It’s no secret that in our fast food society many of us aren’t eating as healthy as we should be. All foods that come from animals, not just meat, tend to be loaded with fat and cholesterol. This is one of the reasons why starting vegan diet can be good for your health.
There is a difference between vegan and vegetarian. Veganism is actually quite a bit more strict since you don’t take in any animal by products. That means no eggs, cheese or dairy of any kind. Anything that is made from some part of an animal, even its’ milk, is off limits if you are starting vegan diet.
Because the diet is so restrictive, it’s very important that you make sure you get all the nutrients you need. You don’t want to actually be eating more unhealthy than you were before.
Here are some tips that will make your transformation into veganism a little easier and a lot more successful:
1. Decide if you should jump into veganism with both feet or if you would like to gradually make changes in your diet. It really doesn’t matter, the most important thing is that you pick the option you will be most likely to stick with. If you are the type of person who makes up their mind and then goes for it, you can probably just become a vegan with no transition time.
But, if you think you may need a little more time to wean yourself off of your current diet, you can do it that way too. Again, it’s completely up to you. Just choose the path that you will be most likely to stick with to increase your chances of success.
2. Picking up a good vegan cookbook, or two, may be helpful too. Making sure you have enough variety not only for nutritional reasons but just to keep your taste buds from getting bored is a good idea and will increase your chances of success. Another thing that may help is to take into account many of the vegan meals you are already eating. If you like a lot of salads, for example, you may just be able to add more of them to your diet and it won’t even require much of a change.
3. Adding a good multi- vitamin to your daily diet is a great idea too. It’s not uncommon for vegans to be deficient in iron, protein, zinc and B-12 unless they are careful to add it back in to their diet. This can be done with supplements or by eating other forms of protein like soy, beans, seeds and nuts.
My daughter has been a vegetarian for many years and recently has decided she was going to go totally vegan. I admire her conviction and self discipline. It can make it a challenge to find places where we can go out for lunch, but she thinks it is the right decision for her. If you are thinking of starting vegan diet do all you can to increase your odds of a successful transformation. Also make sure you get all your nutritional needs met. It’s not impossible if you are a vegan but it might take a little extra thought.
These days you will find many people looking for options for making their diet rich in nutrients. One of the important driving forces behind a completely healthy diet is the food pyramid. The food pyramid is like a tool that will ensure that you have a healthy diet. There are different ways of illustrating a healthy diet plan but the most accepted way is in the shape of the pyramid. Food pyramids have been used by dieticians and even doctors for outlining different food groups as well as food choices, which will lay the foundation for a healthy intake of food if taken in right proportion.
The food pyramid
The food pyramid is in a triangular shape that highlights what all you need to focus on when you are selecting your food. At the base of the pyramid is the food that you need to take in bigger amounts and the food at the top of the pyramid should be consumed in lesser quantities. Today there are several types of food pyramids available and this might confuse you as you might not know which ones to choose. But the good thing is that the basic principles of different food pyramids are same and focus on the following:
1. Eat as much fruits as possible with fresh vegetables and whole grains
2. Reduce the intake of trans fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol as much as possible
3. Limit the intake of salt and sweets
4. Avoid alcohol or drink in moderation
5. Control the total number of calories consumed by you on a daily basis
6. Physical activity is a must
Foods mentioned in a food pyramid are always defined under different categories like meat, poultry and dairy products. This is meant to help you in making the right food choice. You have to remember that there is no single food that can replace everything else but vegetable definitely provide the maximum nutrients that is required by the human body.
One of the best ways to take care of your nutritional needs is through a well-planned vegetarian diet. If you change to a vegetarian diet then it will consist of mostly fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, seeds and nuts. Since meat is not a part of a vegetarian diet hence, they will contain less of cholesterol and fat and will be high on fibers.
There are four main categories of vegetarians and they are:
i. Flexitarians: These people are also known as semi-vegetarians and they follow a plant-based diet normally and sometimes consume smaller quantities of poultry, meat, and fish.
ii. Vegans: Vegans are pure vegetarian who will consume only plant-based foods. They will not consume any animal-derived food like eggs, cheese, meat, milk, and fish.
iii. Lacto-ovo vegetarians: This comprises of people who consume milk, eggs, and any milk products like yogurt and cheese apart from plant-based foods. Lacto-ovo vegetarians don’t consume fish and red meat.
iv. Lacto-vegetarians: Lacto-vegetarians consume only milk and milk based products apart from plant-based foods. They don’t consume fish, eggs, meat, and other poultry products.
A healthy diet is generally restrictive in nature and most often than not it will require you to avoid meat, fish and poultry products, which are high in fat and low on nutrients. Hence, a healthy diet includes mostly fibrous food, which is in the form of fresh vegetables and fruits. Some of the important nutrients available through non-meat sources include:
i. Protein: The human body requires a lot of protein for maintain healthy bones, skin, muscles and other organs. Some of the food products that are high in proteins include legumes, soy products, lentils, seeds, nuts, and whole grains.
ii. Vitamin B-12: The human body requires vitamin B-12 for producing red blood cells and to prevent anemia. Vitamin B-12 is found in some of the enriched cereals, or fortified soy products.
iii. Calcium: Calcium is required mostly for strengthening the bones and to make the teeth stronger. You can find calcium in most of the green vegetables like turnip, spinach, collard greens, broccoli, and kale.
iv. Iron: Iron is a crucial nutrient that is required for red blood cells. You can consume iron by eating peas, dry beans, lentils, whole-grain products, fruits like bananas, dark leafy green vegetables, enriched cereals, and even dry fruit. You can also consume foods, which are rich in vitamin C like citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli and cabbage.
v. Zinc: This is an important nutrient that builds enzymes in the human body for enhancing the process of cell division and also helps in the formation of proteins. Some of the best food sources for zinc include soy products, whole grains, nuts and wheat germ.
If you consume these fibrous fruits then it will ensure a healthy life for you.