You’ve heard about shopping the perimeter of the store. And by now you probably also know that creating a list and sticking to it (regardless of what is on sale) will help you save money by preventing you from buying food you either won’t use or probably shouldn’t be eating. But, have you ever considered taking a close look at your diet and considering if you need a overhaul? Here are some keys to a healthy diet as well as some food groups you should include in your diet (or supplement somehow).
1) Variety – eating a variety of foods increase the likelihood that you will obtain a wide variety of nutrients (vitamin, minerals) and antioxidants.
2) Consider the staples:
a. Dairy – got milk? Or yogurt or cheese? If not, try a calcium fortified soy milk, cheese or yogurt or, consider
supplementing with calcium + D (D especially in the winter in states north of Atlanta, GA).
b. Fruit – are loaded in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to keep you healthy and functioning in tip-top shape. Most
adults need 2 cups of fruits per day. If you aren’t getting that now, consider adding fresh or frozen fruit to your dishes.
c. Vegetables – like fruit, vegetables pack a nutrient-rich punch. Think variety and different methods of cooking and
preparation. You can choose salads or opt for steamed veggies. Top your pizza with veggies or load your sandwiches,
soups and stews to get the recommended 2.5 cups per day.
*There really is no substitute for not eating fruits and vegetables. So, find ones you enjoy eating and load up (you can eat
more than the recommendations, especially for vegetables).
d. Lean meats & poultry – are your best bet for iron, zinc and ……How much you need really depends on what your
individual needs are but, every single adult should aim for 25-30 grams of protein per meal (yes, that includes
e. Fatty fish – salmon, mackerel, herring, halibut, sardines and anchovies are packed with EPA and DHA, the two fatty acids
that are best for preventing certain risk factors for cardiovascular disease as well as potentially decreasing the risk for
depression in some individuals – notably women and the elderly). How much do you need? I use the American Heart
Association’s recommendations: eat at least
two 3.5 ounce servings of fatty fish every week (after all, cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death
in men and women in the U.S. as well as many other countries). If you don’t consume fatty fish, add walnuts, flaxseeds
and flaxseed oil to your diet or, talk to your physician about omega 3 supplements.
When you add any of these foods that are missing to your diet, you will force out some of the not so healthy foods that you are eating while adding a variety of nutrients you need for optimal health.