In a society where eating out of a package or box is the norm, it can seem like a challenge to make sure you’re getting plenty of whole foods in your diet.
Several studies have shown that when nutrients are eaten in whole food form, they provide health benefits to those who eat them. Similar studies have been conducted with single vitamins and minerals, and these studies have shown that the healthful benefits presented with whole foods aren’t there with just a single vitamin or mineral — so it’s important to get more whole foods in your diet!
How can you get started with picking whole foods? “Remember to read not only the nutrition facts label, but also the ingredient list,” says registered dietitian Cassie I. Story, RDN. “If the ingredient list contains more ingredients than what you would find in a home kitchen versus actual recognizable food, it’s heavily processed and likely isn’t the healthiest food choice.”
How can you increase the amount of whole foods in your meals? Check out these simple strategies from Ms. Story herself:
- Wash and chop fresh vegetables when you get home from the grocery store. Place them in reusable to-go containers, or snack baggies in the refrigerator. Eat them with minimally processed hummus or natural nut butter.
- Boil eggs on the weekend, so they are ready to grab at a moment’s notice during the week.
- Buy nuts or seeds in bulk, and place appropriate portions in to-go containers or snack baggies.
- Prepare quinoa (according to the package’s instructions), and keep it in the refrigerator to make a simple breakfast. In a bowl, place 1/3 a cup of quinoa, 1 tablespoon of natural nut butter and chopped fresh fruit or roasted apples. Quinoa can also be a great addition to lunch or dinner!
- Add fresh or frozen fruit to minimally processed Greek yogurt.
- Sprinkle cinnamon on cottage cheese, with chopped frozen peaches.
- Roll minimally processed deli turkey slices over a mozzarella cheese stick, and top it with fresh tomato slices and basil.
Increasing the amount of whole foods in your diet may require some effort, but throughout time it will reward you with an improvement in your health! Want to read more about whole foods? CLICK HERE to read “Nutrition Tune-up: More than Numbers,” an article from Your Weight Matters Magazine.