Eat A variety Of Foods:
You know variety is the spice of life, but do you know it’s also a key to good health?
Your body needs more than 40 different nutrients to stay in top shape, but you can’t get them all from one food. Oranges are loaded with the vitamin C you need for healthy body tissues and to fight infections, for example. But you can’t eat an orange to get the vitamin B 12 you need for healthy red blood cells. Cheese contains vitamin B12 and calcium. But you won’t get any vitamin C from a piece of cheese. All of these foods are good, healthful foods. But none of them provides everything. So, you see, one food simply can’t do it all. And it’s a good thing, too. Eating lots of different foods is an endless source of pleasure.
A staggering 15,000 new food products appear in supermarkets each year, yet the majority of many Americans’ weekly food choices include the same eight or 10 foods. With so many choices available, why are we so averse to variety? Why is trying something new such a big challenge for so many people?
“I see many adults who are in food ruts,” says registered dietitian Elizabeth M. Ward, a nutritionist at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates in Boston and spokesperson for The American Dietetic Association. “They eat chicken or pasta five nights a week because they can get it on the table fast.” But, she says, adding some variety to your daily menu can be fast and fun. Here’s how to do it:
• Rev up your culinary repertoire.
“There’s a big wide world of foods out there,” says Ward, “and plenty of quick, tasty recipes to help you and your family enjoy them.” Earmark interesting recipes, then invest some weekend time to try them out. Make a big batch so you’ll have extra for a quick meal during the week. You can start with the easytomake healthy recipes at theback of this book.
Turn the day upside down.
“Have breakfast for dinner or dinner for break-fast,” suggests Ward. “Fruit Topped French toast and a glass of milk make a speedy, nutritious supper. For breaa5t, try a cheese sandwich or a slice of leftover pizza with a glass of juice.” Kids will love these Topsy-turvY meals, too.
Add color to your cart:Eating many different-colored fruits and vegetables helps you get the variety of nutrients you need. And stocking a cart brimming with color adds little time to your shopping trip. Simply grab a red, yellow, and green pepper instead of all one color. Mix a few sweet potatoes in with the whites. Choose a bunch of bananas, a few shiny red apples, a couple of oranges, and a cluster of purple grapes instead of a big bag containing one single type of fruit.
Custom-make a morning taste treat: Mix together two or three different breakfast cereals for a unique flavor. Bananas have appeal, but try a new topper such as blueberries, nectarines, or kiwi.
Supercharge your soup and sandwich: At lunch, swap the same old chicken noodle soup for lentil or mushroom-barley. “These soups satisfr and boost your fiber intake, too,” says Ward. Build your usual turkey and Swiss sandwich on a new bread such as focaccia, seven-grain, or pita. Try a newtopping such as arugula, roasted red peppers, and honey mustard.
Go exotic with ethnic cuisine: Break free of your dining-out routine—try a brand-new cuisinel Thai, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Indian, and Greek are just a few tantalizing choices. Many ethnic cuisines feature low- fat dishes heaping with grains and vegetables—just what the Pyramid ordered. Many large supermarkets also offer a wide selection of ready-made ethnic dishes or quick-to-fix staples.