Be Nutrition Savvy: Seven Simple Ways to Eat
By Monique N. Gilbert, B.Sc.
The key to better health is learning the difference between healthy and unhealthy
nutrients. The choices we make greatly affect our health. Making a few simple
healthy and nutritious changes in our dietary choices can have a profound and
positive impact on our health, well-being, energy levels and life span. For
instance . . .
- Healthy proteins provide the amino acids our bodies
require to build and repair lean body mass (like muscles, skin,
hair and nails), and are low in
saturated fat, cholesterol and chemicals. Good sources include wild salmon,
beans, legumes, soy products (tofu, tempeh, TVP), seeds (sunflower,
pumpkin), nuts (walnuts,
almonds, peanuts) and nut-butters (peanut, almond, cashew, etc.).
- Unhealthy proteins are loaded with saturated fat,
cholesterol, hormones, or antibiotics (like beef, lamb, beacon
and sausage). While they give your
body the needed amino acids, they also clog arteries and compromise your
- Healthy fats are unsaturated fats (mono and poly),
omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Good sources of these fats include
virgin olive oil, canola
oil, ground flax seeds and walnuts. They help your body absorb fat-soluble
antioxidant micronutrients like vitamins A, E, D, and K, and
- Unhealthy fats are saturated fats and trans fatty
acids (trans fats), like butter and margarine. These fats contribute
to heart disease, stroke,
high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, hypertension and obesity.
- Healthy carbohydrates are high in fiber and are considered
complex carbohydrates. Good sources include rolled oats, brown
rice, whole wheat, broccoli, squash,
green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, beans and whole fruit. These
help lower cholesterol, aide digestion, regulate blood sugar
levels, and reduce
- Unhealthy carbohydrates are high in sugar and are
called simple carbohydrates, like candy, white bread, sodas,
ice cream, cake and cookies. These spike blood
sugar and insulin levels, and increase caloric intake (they are considered
Eating nutrient-dense foods that are high in antioxidants, phytochemicals
and fiber help the body function optimally, promote overall well-being
and improve digestion. These nutrients also help fight and prevent heart
cancer and diabetes, strengthens the immune system, slows the aging process,
increases energy and improves cognitive performance.
Additionally, as we age our appetite lessens, making it even more critical
to choose foods wisely. When every bit counts, picking foods with the
highest nutritional profile is more important than ever.
An easy way to make your nutritional choices is to look for foods that
are bright in color, for they usually contain more beneficial vitamins,
and phytochemicals. For example, red and pink grapefruit have the heart-healthy
cancer-fighting antioxidant phytochemical called lycopene while white
grapefruit does not. Here are seven more simple ways to start eating
- Switch from iceberg lettuce to romaine lettuce. Romaine
lettuce has more vitamins and minerals like vitamins A and C,
and potassium. It also has more fiber than iceberg lettuce.
- Eat brown rice instead of white rice. Brown rice naturally
has more fiber and riboflavin, and less sugars than white rice.
It is digested slower and
is more filling.
- Switch from white bread to whole-wheat or whole-grain bread.
Whole-wheat and whole-grain breads have more fiber, iron and
potassium. Slice per slice,
they are more filling and satisfying than white bread.
- Drink iced teas (black, green and herbal) instead of sodas.
Black, green and herbal teas provide antioxidants and phytochemicals
that enhance your
health. Unlike sodas, you can control the sugar content when
brewing your own iced teas.
- Choose whole-grain or whole-wheat cereals with bran instead
of sugar-coated cereals. Whole-grain cereals and whole-wheat
cereals with bran naturally
have more protein, fiber, calcium, iron, vitamin A, thiamin,
riboflavin, and niacin than sugar frosted cereals. Besides having
less sugar, they are
metabolized slower and are more filling. So you have more energy
during the day and you will not get hungry right away.
- Switch from cows milk to fortified soymilk. Soymilk contains
no cholesterol or hormones, and is extremely low in saturated
fat. It also provides isoflavones
and other beneficial phytochemicals that promote good health.
Fortified soymilks also contain easy to absorb calcium, vitamins
D and B6, and some even add
extra antioxidants (like vitamins A, C, and E), folate and omega-3.
- For dessert, have frozen fruit sorbet instead of ice cream.
Frozen fruit sorbet is fat and cholesterol free and has more
fiber. It is also loaded
with antioxidant vitamins A and C, and contains beneficial phytochemicals.
To get you started, try Monique N. Gilbert's deliciously nutritious homemade
sorbet recipe. It is cholesterol-free, and high in antioxidants and fiber.
Strawberry Orange Sorbet
1-1/2 cups frozen strawberries
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup fortified soymilk
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup (optional)
Blend in a food processor or blender for 1-2
minutes, until smooth and creamy. Place in the freezer until
ready to serve. Makes about 2 servings. •
Copyright © Monique N. Gilbert. All rights reserved. 03/22/05
N. Gilbert, B.Sc. is a Health, Nutrition, Weight-Loss & Lifestyle
Coach; Certified Personal Trainer/Fitness Counselor; Recipe Developer; Freelance
Writer and Author of Virtues of Soy: A Practical Health Guide and Cookbook.
She has offered guidance in natural health, nutrition, fitness, weight-loss
and stress management since 1989.
About the Author
Monique N. Gilbert, B.Sc. has received international recognition
for helping people get healthy, manage stress, lose weight and keep
it off. Through her
coaching program and writings, Monique motivates and teaches how to improve
your well-being, vitality and longevity with balanced nutrition, physical activity
and healthy living.