As a dietitian, I see how hard it can be for people to make healthy choices – whether because they don’t understand what is healthy or because so many other temptations get in the way. Whether you are looking to age gracefully, reduce the effects of a health condition or just get the best nutrients possible on a limited budget, one of the best decisions you can make is introducing “super foods” into your diet.
So called because they are packed full of critical nutrients without having a lot of filler calories or bad fats, the following super foods can help you enjoy super health.
• Sweet potatoes – One of the best vegetables you can eat and loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and fiber
• Grape tomatoes – Perfect for salads, garnish or as a healthy snack, these bite-size tomatoes are packed with vitamin A, vitamin C and fiber
• Fat-free or 1% milk – An excellent source of calcium, vitamins and protein with very little fat and cholesterol
• Broccoli – Incredibly versatile for meals or snacks, and loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C and folic acid
• Salmon – The omega-3 fats in this healthy fish help reduce the risk of heart disease
• Whole grain crackers – Loaded with fiber and generally fat free, whole grain crackers are perfect for snacking and are a much healthier selection with soup than most breads
• Brown rice – Quick and easy to make and full of fiber, magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin B-6, copper and zinc
• Citrus fruits – Rich in vitamin C, folic acid and fiber. The sweet taste of fruit is great for snacks and easy to introduce to the whole family
• Butternut squash – Loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C and fiber. And, many stores are selling peeled, diced squash that is ready to cook
• Spinach and kale – These leafy greens are full of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, folic acid, magnesium and iron
If super foods feel foreign to you, introduce them one at a time so that you aren’t changing your entire diet at once. Changes that you build in gradually have a better chance of sticking with you than changes you add all at once. Just remember that it’s not just about the calories or a weight loss goal. Super foods are really about helping you achieve super health!
* Peg Fitkowski, RD, CDN, is the Director of Nutrition Services for Meals on Wheels for WNY. Homebound seniors may be a fit for Meals on Wheels delivery; 716-822-2002.