One of the most important nutrition tips to remember, which closely relates to other aspects of life, is to focus on the good. Focus on healthy foods. Focus on what you CAN have. In a world with diet this weight loss that, it’s always DON’T eat this or you CAN’T eat that. Well, ignore that for now and let’s talk about a few foods that you should include in your diet. Especially during a season where there are many foods around that aren’t typically, it’s important to have the good stuff in mind. Check out my top 4, and try to incorporate each of them into your diet at least once before the new year!
Nuts are not only an amazing source of nutrition, but are extremely easy to store and pack as a snack. They are known to be “heart healthy” due to their significant content of unsaturated fats. They are also an excellent source of fiber, vitamin E, magnesium and plant sterols. While nuts are extremely beneficial to your health, it is also important to note that they are calorically dense, so simply just watch the portion size when you enjoy them! I recommend shooting for 1-2 ounces in one sitting (#nuts/oz. varies per nut). Here is the breakdown of a few of the top rated nuts in the nutrition world:
- BRAZIL NUT (1 oz_8 medium nuts)
- Macros: 185 calories, 19g fat, 4g protein, 3.5g carbohydrates (2g fiber)
- Micros: 770% DV of selenium (thyroid function), 27% DV of magnesium (muscle function)
- ALMOND (1 oz_24 nuts)
- Macros: 165 calories, 14g fat, 6g protein, 6g carbohydrates (3.5g fiber)
- Micros: 37% DV of vitamin E (powerful antioxidant), 32% DV of manganese (growth and development)
- WALNUT (1 oz_14 halves)
- Macros: 185 calories, 18g fat (2542 mg omega-3), 4.5g protein, 4g carbohydrates (2g fiber)
- Micros: 48% DV of manganese (growth and development), 22% DV of copper (iron absorption)
Greek yogurt is an amazing addition to a healthy diet. It is an extensively strained version of regular yogurt, which contains an impressive amount of protein and, depending on the processing of the product, contains gut benefiting probiotics. The challenging thing is that many of the main stream Greek yogurts you will find in the grocery store are flavored, which means a load of added sugar. Try selecting the plain, non-fat Greek yogurt. It is certainly an acquired taste, but feel free to doctor it up to make a tasty treat.
- One cup (227g) of plain, non-fat Greek Yogurt contains:
140 calories, 0g fat, 23g protein, 9g carbohydrates
Here are some ideas to doctor it up:
- roasted almonds + mixed berries + drizzled honey
- mini dark chocolate chips/ cacao chips + unsweetened coconut flakes
- granola + flax seeds/chia seeds
- add it to a smoothie!
Oat bran is a mega star in the grain category. It comes from the outside layer of the oat grain and is sold and consumed as a common hot cereal. Oatmeal on the other hand contains the whole oat grain, and while still impressively nutritious, contains 50% less fiber than oat bran. Fiber, especially soluble fiber, is extremely important for the human body. It not only helps regulate bowel movements, but manages cholesterol levels, which is why you will see “Heart Healthy” written all over the labels.
A recent nation survey from the USDA states that 97% of Americans do not get enough fiber, likely due to the large amount of processed products in the food supply. The general fiber intake recommendation is ~30g fiber/day for men and ~25g fiber/day for women. A quick bowl of oat bran in the morning will surely put you in the running to meet that recommendation. If you don’t get enough, increase slowly! If you are in the 3% that do get enough, and maybe more than the recommendation, great! Here’s the macro breakdown:
- 1/2 cup dry (40g):
150 calories, 3g fat, 7g protein, 19g carbohydrates (7g fiber)
Lentils are one of those foods that grace the pages of almost all of the “healthiest foods” articles. And rightfully so! These little lens-shaped legumes are packed solid with nutrition including protein, fiber, iron and folate. They are commonly consumed as a protein source for vegans and vegetarians (just make sure to pair with a grain to get all the necessary amino acids)! These are a top contender in the heart health category, helps to maintain GI regularity, and contains several beneficial micronutrients.
- 1/2 cup cooked lentils
115 calories, 0g fat, 9g protein, 20g carbohydrates (8g fiber)
115%DV of Molybdenum (array of benefits including cellular protection, and energy production), 45% DV folate, 18% DV iron
Some tasty ways to incorporate lentils into your diet:
There you have it! My top 4 foods to incorporate into your diet..now! Remember: forget the bad and focus on the good. 🙂