17 Ideas to Help You Eat Better

1.) Broccoli to the Rescue

Looking for a natural way to cut your chance of developing breast cancer? Broccoli is a key ingredient in cancer prevention, especially cancer of the colon, breast, bladder and ovaries. It also aids in cardiovascular health and decreases cholesterol.

The super-powerful green veggie contains indole-3-carbinol, a natural chemical that is believed to stop the growth of breast cancer cells better than any other anticancer drug!

For a quick and healthy week-night dinner, try this Broccoli Peanut Stir-Fry (make link click-able so people can open recipe in new page and don’t have to see all the words in the recipe when looking at post).

Broccoli Peanut Stir-Fry (Serves 4)

 

Preparation

  1. Whisk peanut butter, 1/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and vinegar in a medium bowl until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Steam broccoli by filling pot under steamer with water and adding broccoli to steamer. Cover and cook on high heat for a few minutes, until broccoli is tender and bright green.
  3. Add oil to pan and add the remaining 1/4 cup water and 1 tablespoon soy sauce along with bell pepper and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the pepper has softened and the liquid has evaporated, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in the broccoli and  reserved peanut sauce and season with crushed red pepper. Garnish with peanuts.

 

2.) Watch Your Salt!

Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup’s new name should actually be, ‘Liquid Salt.’ The can contains 1,900 mg’s of sodium, which is more than adults should consume in an entire day!

Choose reduced-sodium soups in the following brands: Amy’s, Imagine Foods and Pacific Natural Foods. A new brand of soup, Dr. McDougall’s Low-Sodium Chicken Noodle, only has 370 mg’s of salt. Find this brand and others in your local Whole Foods.

Remember, the more salt you eat, the more at risk you are for developing high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes. Put down the salt-shaker and cook more often. Eating out and buying canned goods is a sure way to sky-rocket your blood pressure.

Try this super-easy Butternut Squash no-salt added soup recipe at home: (make link click-able so people can open recipe in new page and don’t have to see all the words in the recipe when looking at post).

 

Butternut Squash Soup – Serves 6

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  2.  Use pre-cut squash cubes.
  3. Peel and dice the onion into roughly 1-inch pieces.
  4. Place the squash and onion onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper and any other spices you like. Roast in oven for 45-50 minutes until squash is lightly golden and fork-tender.
  5. In a large pot, bring the broth to a simmer. Add the roasted veggies. Puree using an immersion blender, regular blender, or food processor. (If using a regular blender or food processor, work in batches so that your container isn’t full to the brim, and be careful not to burn yourself). Finish with a drizzle of olive oil or greek yogurt if you’d like, and enjoy!

 

3.) That Coffee Isn’t So Innocent

Starbucks Venti White Chocolate Mocha is worse than a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese. Just for a beverage, this coffee contains 580 calories, 14 grams of saturated fat and 13 teaspoons of added sugar. Remember, this isn’t even a meal!

To keep your order leaner, take out the whipped cream, opt for non-fat milk and try to make drinks like this one a specialty drink and not something you order on a daily or weekly basis. Choose a regular coffee and spruce it up with pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and a drizzle of chocolate. You will save a load of calories, fat and sugar and it will still satisfy your sweet tooth!

 

4.) Go Ahead, Get Nuts Over Peanuts!

Contrary to popular belief, all of you expectant mothers-to-be should include peanuts in your pregnancy diets. A 2013 study in the Journal Pediatrics found that moms who ate peanuts and other tree nuts during their pregnancy had children born with a significantly lower incidence of nut allergies. Although nut allergies amongst children have tripled in the last 15 years and older studies showed a connection between pregnancy nut consumption and increased risk of allergies, the overall evidence has been lacking.

Peanuts make great snacks! Throw them into a trail mix with almonds, cashews, walnuts, natural popcorn and cranberries and you will be on your way to better health in no time. Peanuts contain good fats for a healthy heart, plus they actually help to ward off weight-gain. Peanuts – along with other nuts and seeds – are full of fiber and pack lots of protein, making them a satisfying snack that curbs cravings and overeating at meal time.

 

5.) This Yogurt Doesn’t Look Like a Twinkie!

Yogurt is always thought of as a healthy breakfast or snack. Full of calcium for strong bones and protein to keep you full – but what about the sugar? Turns out there is an awful lot of sugar in each tiny container of yogurt, even more than the amount in one Twinkie.

Limiting our sugar intake is important – as sugar intake is correlated to weight-gain and a variety of diseases including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and brain disorders.

Take a look at Yoplait Original Strawberry Yogurt. It contains 26 grams of sugar – compared to 19 grams of sugar in one Twinkie. Stonyfield Smooth & Creamy Low-Fat French Vanilla has a whopping 29 grams of sugar per serving. The sugar in these yogurts causes you to feel hungrier and crave even more sugar – which totally defeats the point of eating a ‘healthy’ snack.

Try Plain Greek Yogurt and add your own fruit, a dash of vanilla extract, chopped nuts and some shredded coconut for a nutritious snack without the added sugar.

 

6.) Move Over, Diet Coke

Diet beverages containing aspartame can actually lead to weight gain! Researchers have found that diet drinks ruin your body’s ability to count calories and actually stimulate your appetite – causing you to overindulge. Plus, aspartame is linked to headaches, mood swings and a ton of stomach problems.

Replace those diet beverages with seltzer, sparkling water, or iced coffees and teas. For a twist on H20, make a pitcher and fill it with lemon and orange slices, raspberries and mint leaves.

 

7.) Change Your Pasta!

We know that refined grains like white pasta and crackers are essentially empty calories, but did we know that eating this food group can be linked to depression?

In a 2013 study published by Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, blood tests revealed that women who were tracked for 12 years and ate fatty red meat and refined grains daily were 29 to 41% more likely to be diagnosed with depression than those who stuck to a healthier diet.

Switch to whole grains like buckwheat, spelt and brown rice pasta and lean meat and you’ll be smiling in no time!

 

8.) Vegetarians Live Longer than Meat Eaters

Veggies are high in fiber and low in saturated fat, thereby helping us to prevent heart disease. A 2013 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, a Journal of the American Medical Association found that vegetarians in the study experienced 12% fewer deaths over the six year period they were watched. Vegetarians in the study were also 19% less likely to die from heart disease than meat-eaters.

Make sure to include as many veggies in your day as possible. Add leftover veggies to your omelet for breakfast, grab a veggie-heavy salad for lunch, use veggie slices as your dipping agents into guacamole and humus for snacks and include some roasted veggies with dinner.

 

9.) Tomato, Tomato!

The tomato is another superfood and what’s great is that you get all the benefits if you eat fresh tomatoes, tomato sauce, puree, homemade tomato soup or paste. Offers excellent source of Vitamin A for bone and teeth health, Vitamin C, potassium for healing muscles and contains the antioxidant lycopene which provides cardiovascular advantages, fights inflammation and free radical damage.

For a hearty lunch or to serve with a salad for a dinner, try this easy Tomato Soup Recipe:

6 servings

  1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Place half of tomato mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining tomato mixture. Stir in salt and pepper. Ladle 3/4 cup soup into each of 6 bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon yogurt and 1 1/2 teaspoons basil.

 

10.) Get Family Involved in the Kitchen!

If you want your kids to eat healthier, let them act as your sous chefs’ in the kitchen! When you enlist the help of kids and teens for meal preparation, they become more interested in healthy food and are motivated to taste food that they helped to make. Start out asking them to cut or peel veggies, make a salad or read a veggie-heavy recipe with you so they learn that fresh produce should be a part of every meal!

 

11.) Keep the Junk Out!

Make it difficult to eat the bad stuff by making special trips for ice cream and desserts. When you keep the junk out of your freezer and pantry, you will be less likely to indulge. Think about it –  if you are craving ice cream at night and it’s not in your house, you’re probably not going to put on clothes and get into the car to buy it. The times that you do make that trip will be less frequent and then you will begin to view a trip to your favorite sweets shop as a special occasion and not the norm.

 

12.) Get Rid of Trans Fat in Your Diet

We’ve all heard of the evils of trans fat, but do we know exactly where they are hiding? Think again before you reach for that candy bar out of the vending machine, make Bisquick pancakes or pour non-dairy creamer into your coffee.

Trans fat or partially hydrogenated oils are fats formed when food companies add more saturated fats to products to increase their shelf-life. They contain artery clogging bad cholesterol and increase risk of heart disease more than any other type of fat. Many restaurants have banned the use of trans fat, but not all food manufacturers have followed suit.

Land O Lakes margarine sticks contain 3 grams of trans fat in just one tablespoon, Pillsbury frosting packs 1.5 grams in 2 tablespoons, Pop Secret popcorn has a whopping 5 grams per serving and one slice of Sara Lee Classic New York style Cheesecake contains 3 grams of trans fats.

Scan labels and avoid products listing ‘partially hydrogenated oils’ or ‘shortening’ as ingredients.

 

13.) Sugar is Not Only S-U-G-A-R!

It’s not so easy to spot sugar on ingredient labels anymore. Now, sugar has hundreds of names, like cane juice, brown rice syrup, cane syrup, molasses and more.

Despite popular belief that certain sugars are ‘healthier’ than others – there is absolutely no nutritional advantage to using honey, brown sugar or fruit juice concentrate.

The best way to avoid eating added sugar is to eat less processed pre-packaged food and to eat more whole, natural foods. Look for foods sweetened with natural fruit or applesauce, coconut or dark chocolate.

A satisfying sweet snack is homemade baked apples with cinnamon or Bare Fruit Apple Crisps.

Try the following Baked Apple Recipe for a winter-time treat:

– Cut up as many fuji apples as you want

– Sauté apples in 1 to 2 tablespoons of coconut butter and pumpkin pie spice until soft

– Transfer mixture to pan and bake in stove until very hot and soft.

 

14.) Cup of Joe Carries Health Benefits!

Coffee lovers have no fear – – your morning joe is actually good for you! Research has shown that coffee may help prevent diseases like stroke and certain cancers, lower our risk of Parkinson’s and dementia, and boost our concentration and memory.

Other benefits include reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, a longer life and reduced risk of stroke, according to an AARParticle published in 2013.

Since caffeine is a stimulant, we do need monitor how much we’re drinking. Health professionals recommend drinking less than 300 mgs of caffeine in one day – about 3 eight-ounce cups; however, the strength of each cup varies depending on where you are getting it from.

Keep in mind 16 ounces of Starbucks coffee has 330 mgs of caffeine, so one cup here should fulfill your caffeine fix for the day!

 

15.) There’s No Better Time to Chomp on Carrots!

It’s 3 p.m. and you’re searching for that snack to keep you energized for the rest of the day. Instead of reaching for the candy bowl, grab some carrots to dip into hummus, guacamole, salsa or tzatziki and your body will thank you.

Full of Vitamin A, C and K, Carrots help to protect your immune system against harmful diseases and they keep you full thanks to the fiber packed into each stick!

Want to improve your eyesight without taking drastic measures like having eye surgery? Just eat your carrots! The veggie is packed with beta-carotene which promotes good vision, especially night vision.

The World’s Healthiest Foods web site reports that diets high in carotene –are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and are linked with a 20% decrease in postmenopausal breast cancer and up to 50% decrease in the incidence of cancers of the bladder, cervix, prostate, colon, larynx, and esophagus.

 

16.) Cacao – Superfood Powerhouse

Forget about Hershey’s candy and try cacao – raw chocolate – next time that chocolate craving comes over you.

Cacao is the seed of fruit grown on Amazonian trees and is the highest antioxidant food on the planet, #1 source of magnesium, iron, chromium and cardiovascular support. Raw chocolate improves heart health, builds strong bones, elevates mood and energy and is natural aphrodisiac.

Cacao tastes just like dark chocolate, but what’s better is that it doesn’t come with the sugar, milk and cream that goes into regular chocolate bars.

Look for cacao nibs at Whole Foods or health food stores and thrown into oatmeal, greek yogurt, trail mixes. For a cacao bar, try Vita Cacao, Go Raw Chocolate or NibMoore Chocolate.

 

17.) The ‘It’ Berry

Talk about getting all you need from one berry – the Goji berry contains high amounts of antioxidants, iron, Vitamins B & E and all 8 essential amino acids to help us build protein. These berries have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, as they are known to increase longevity and strength.

Eat them plain, put into muffins and throw into cereal and granola. For a delectable treat, try Himalania Dark Chocolate or Yogurt Covered Goji Berries as a snack.

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