Is one of your 2016 New Years Resolutions to eat a healthier, more balanced diet? Maybe you are trying to shed a few pounds, or perhaps you just want to be putting better foods into your body. The good news is that there are dozens of ways to do that! A good way to start is to rid your diet of processed foods and aim to eat foods that are only made with none of the extras like high fructose corn syrup. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients on the label of the food you are eating, you probably shouldn’t be eating it! Below are three food groups to try to incorporate into your daily eating habits. Doing this will give your body more of the vitamins, fiber, and healthy protein it needs to keep you strong and active.
1. Beans – Beans fall under the legume family and are one of the most versatile cooking ingredients. You can throw beans into a soup, roll them into a burrito, or just eat them on the side of your favorite meal. Garbanzo beans are increasing in popularity because they are the main ingredient in one of America’s new favorite appetizers: hummus. Not only is hummus delicious, but you only need to eat 2 spoonfuls of hummus a day to fulfill your bean recommendation for the week! Wow! You have probably seen various hummus brands in your local grocery store and you’ll notice that they usually offer different hummus flavors for whatever you might enjoy. For instance, some people like a little bit of kick and choose the spicy hummus option, while others love the classic hummus dip with flavors of garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and tahini. With all of the hummus brands out there today you are bound to find one you’ll love!
2. Greens – Did you know that nearly all Americans (nine out of ten) don?t eat enough vegetables each day? That statistic plays a huge part of why so many in our country struggle with obesity. Greens are easier to incorporate than you might think. The next time you are making a sandwich, taco, or even a burrito think about substituting your bread or tortilla for a leafy green. You will cut out tons of carbs and add in loads of vitamins and fiber to your diet. Another way to add in greens is into your favorite homemade soup. Try several varieties of greens and you might be surprised that you like one more than another. Kale is high in fiber and nutrients, but some people aren’t too crazy about the texture. For those people spinach is another great alternative. No matter which green you choose, adding one into your weekly meal plan is a great way to get healthy.
3. Grains – The third food type to try to add into your diet is grains. Grains are easy to add into your diet because, just like hummus brands, there are so many to choose from! Often times when you are at the grocery store you will see a standard offering of a certain food next to the same food offered in a whole grain variety. Try choose the whole grain option of some of the items in your pantry right now and see what you think. Start with easy options like whole grain breads and pastas and work your way to some of the more interesting grains like quinoa and buckwheat. You may love them and never look back!
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommended eating more vegetables and beans because they are nutrient-dense, and are associated with reduced risk of many chronic diseases. The next time you are at the grocery store take an extra minute to look at the various hummus brands, types of leafy greens, and whole grain offerings. You may be surprised at how much you have to choose from.