Processed foods often contain ingredients that bump up taste and texture, but add little in the way of nutrition. For truly healthy eating opt for DIY meals and snacks that are flavor and nutrient-packed. For example, treat yourself to banana “ice cream” by blending a frozen banana; instead of fatty “fries,” trim a few sweet potatoes into strips and bake them to crispy deliciousness; enjoy a healthy personal pizza made with a high fiber cracker topped with no added-sugar tomato sauce and low-fat Swiss cheese quickly broiled to toasty perfection.
Seasonal and local fruits and vegetables
For taste and nutrition you can’t beat fruits and vegetables that are currently in-season. March is an especially good time for apricots, asparagus, broccoli, honeydew, mango, snow peas, spinach, and strawberries, for example. Whenever possible opt for locally grown fruits and vegetables that are picked and delivered to market at their delicious and nutritious peak.
Vitamin D boosters
Lower sun exposure during the cold months may leave you deficient in vitamin D, so to close the gap get it from food sources such as salmon, tuna, and eggs and in fortified products such as skim milk and low-fat yogurt.
Fill up on fiber
Many processed foods are stripped of fiber, a zero-calorie nutrient that’s naturally filling. Delicious whole fruits, vegetables and grains are great sources of fiber, and with foods such as apples, pears and sweet potatoes, you’ll get the most fiber by eating them skin and all.
Eat well, often
Skipping meals and subsisting on grab-and go junk isn’t healthy or satisfying. The best way to eat nutritiously and keep hunger at bay is to stick to a regular schedule of meals and snacks that combine foods rich in fiber and lean protein. At breakfast have a serving of Greek yogurt topped with raspberries or a spinach and feta omelet, for example. A large vegetable salad topped grilled chicken or fish is a great choice for lunch or dinner. For a tasty, nutritious and filling snack pair fresh whole fruit slices with low-fat cheese or almond butter.
For delicious high fiber meal plans, recipes and tips on healthy eating, drinking and losing weight, check out my latest book, The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber!
Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books:The F-Factor Diet and The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber.