Last week we looked at ways to fill our pantries with nutritious foods that make quick snacks or products that can be easily prepared for a healthy addition to any meal - now it's time to tune in the refrigerator with some key items for ultimate health!
These items are perishable, though each product varies in the length of time that it can be stored for. Some of the most nutrient-valuable foods are ones that are fresh and spoil relatively quickly - this just means we should be getting more of these things in our diet!
You may have been cautioned at some point about how consuming eggs may negatively impact your health - though it’s helpful to remember that consuming too much of anything is never a great idea if you’re striving for balanced nutrition! And, as recent studies have found, eggs can actually improve the cholesterol profile: they raise HDL (“good” cholesterol) and increase the size of LDL (“bad” cholesterol) particles, which may lower the risk of heart disease. Whole eggs are hard to beat when it comes to nutrient density, as the calories are minimal considering how many beneficial vitamins and minerals this food contains. The nutrients are found in the yolks while the whites are made up mostly of protein, and eggs are an excellent source of protein! They also score very high on a scale called the “Satiety Index,” indicating what foods will keep a person feel full for longer amounts of time, and so it’s not surprising that research has pointed to eggs as a helpful fat loss food when eaten for breakfast!
Every body is different and processes different foods in a unique way, so even though eggs have a better reputation these days, it’s important to check in with a physician once in a while to make sure your system is in optimal condition.
HELPFUL TIP: Hens are often raised in factories, caged and fed grain-based feed that alters the final nutrient composition of the eggs. It is best to buy Omega-3 enriched or pasture-raised eggs, they are more nutritious and healthier for you.*
We’re going to focus on some alternatives for traditional milk! This is because animal-based milk is calorie dense and may be hard for many people to digest, and the pasteurization process used to remove harmful bacteria for milk destroys important nutrients and digestive enzymes.*
Almond milk is amongst the healthiest milk alternatives, as this nut is a fantastic dietary source of plant-based calcium. Almonds are also high in other essential minerals such as iron and magnesium, which work with other minerals in the body to help them function optimally. This milk is also rich in vitamin E - about 50 percent of the daily value in one cup, and almond milk has 1/3 of the calories of 2 percent cow's milk!
Flax milk is high in fiber and alpha linoleic acids, which has been used to prevent and treat diseases relating to the heart and blood vessels. It is promoted as a useful food for preventing heart attacks, lowering high blood pressure and cholesterol, and reversing a process which hardens the blood vessels. When fortified, this non-dairy alternative has as much calcium as regular milk.
Rice milk is the most hypoallergenic of the milk alternatives. It's free of soy, gluten and nuts, important for those who are allergic or can't tolerate these ingredients.*
HELPFUL TIP: Opt for the milks without added sugar!
Yogurt - depending on the type - can be high in protein, calcium, vitamins, and live cultures (or probiotics) which can enhance the gut microbiota. These nutrients can offer protection for bones and teeth and help your digestive system function properly! Also, probiotics can boost the immune system and help with weight management, as well as enhance absorption of critical vitamins and minerals.
Yogurt has a low lactose content, so a person with a lactose intolerance will likely find it more tolerable than milk. And since yogurt contains bacteria that aid digestion, many people may tolerate yogurt without experiencing negative symptoms.
Greek yogurt contains high amounts of protein and fiber compared to other varieties, and low-fat options make this food a good option for maintaining a trim figure. This type of yogurt is also an excellent source of iodine - iodine is important for proper thyroid function, and the thyroid is essential for a healthy metabolism.*
Non-dairy alternatives, such as coconut milk yogurt, also contain calcium, fiber, and protein, though these nutritional values may be less than yogurt made with dairy. A serving of coconut yogurt supplies between 25 and 30 percent of the daily value for vitamin B-12, crucial for red blood cell production, and vitamin D, vital for calcium absorption.*
HELPFUL TIP: Yogurt products that go through heat treatment have no active bacteria, reducing the health benefits (yogurt-covered raisins are an example). Choose an option with minimal sugar!
Flavor is important when sticking to a diet program, and how a meal tastes may ultimately determine a person’s ability to stay on track with healthy eating habits!
Tahini, harissa, pesto, and salsa make great additions to a variety of dishes, though some of the more basic condiments, like mustard, are a safe staple to have due to low sodium and calorie factor.
Hummus can even qualify as a condiment: it is a good source of protein, healthy fats, healthy carbohydrates, and is still a vegetable!*
HELPFUL TIP: Remember to read labels. High-sugar condiments, like ketchup and BBQ sauce, aren’t the best options! And skip the mayo and ranch dressing if you’re hoping to maintain a lean physique.
Want to learn about my personal diet plan, what kind of foods I eat to stay fit, and when to incorporate certain products into your daily routine? Check out my Nutrition Plans for more information about how personal coaching and diet engineering can help you achieve your goal body!
Choosing healthy meal options and light snacks throughout the day will give your body the steady supply of nutrients it needs to stay active, energized, and functioning efficiently (as well as keep you on track with the 30-day calendar program)!
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