Meals need to be variegated. And they also should be nutritious. How to ensure that you are able to guarantee health bites in every meal? Here are some simple ways to be certain that every meal’s carb and calorie counts along with loads of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
Meals, nutrition and healthy bites
We all usually have three meals in a day with maybe snacks between lunch and dinner. Each meal should be healthy with nutrient dense foods. But at times, we may feel like eating other foods that might not necessarily fall in the healthy group. During such times, there are some easy tricks to up the nutrition of the meals and at the same time enjoy it. These easy and simple hacks can make our eating effective for the body.
Frozen family size meals: make them into healthy bites
These meals seem to have a bad reputation due to high sodium and fat content. But one can enhance its nutritional value with a simple trick. Kiran Campbell, dietitian states:
“My favorite way to add more nutrients to meals while also considering the convenience factor is to use frozen family-size meals that include a protein source, vegetable, and sauce and add an additional bag of vegetables only to the mix when preparing them,”
“This helps dilute the amount of sodium and fat compared to if you would’ve left out the extra veggies. It adds valuable nutrients and most likely an additional serving of vegetables into your day.”
Add vitamin C source to plant iron source
Iron deficiency is common in plant eaters. To overcome this, add vitamin C source to the plant that has iron in it. This enhances the absorption of iron in the body. Nutritionist Jill Weisenberger explains:
“If you don’t want to eat meat, which is an excellent source of iron, there are plant-based sources, including fortified breakfast cereals, enriched bread, leafy greens, tofu, beans, and lentils,”
“But plant-based iron is poorly absorbed without vitamin C, so combine fortified cereal with berries, chickpea salad with tomatoes and bell peppers, and leafy greens with lemon juice.”
Use leftover pasta and potatoes for green salad
When pasta and boiled potatoes cool, the starch in them becomes resistant. This lowers their glycemic index and the starch now acts like a soluble fiber. It fills the stomach and increases nutritive value of the green salad. Make every bite of the new food a healthy bite. Good bacteria in the gut feed on it and assist in gut health.
Add a protein side to veggies
A veggie salad can be proteinized with addition of a simple egg. The protein in eggs (moderate size) is 6 grams and it has 60 calories. A study in the journal The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that cooked eggs added to salads of vegetables can increase the absorption of carotenoids such as lycopene and carotene. Fats of eggs also aid in absorption of carotenoids. These carotenoids are anti-inflammatory and good for health and eyes.
Replace oil with puree of pumpkin
For those healthy bites, one can eliminate cooking oil in baking. Instead use puree of pumpkin. One can also use banana puree for same purpose. When pumpkin is used, the food gets enriched with vitamins A, vitamin B1, B6, and vitamin C, folate, dietary fiber, and potassium and magnesium. Dietitian Maggie Michalczyk elaborates:
“Replace ¼ cup oil with ¼ cup pumpkin in recipes—since pumpkin has a high water content it contributes a lot of moisture to baked goods, so you’ll still get a super moist texture with less oil,”
A touch of blueberries
Addition of blueberries ups the nutrition as well as taste. Uma Nadu, director of Nutritional and Lifestyle Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital has this to say on it:
“Research shows that blueberries can potentially increase serotonin levels, the so-called ‘happiness hormone’ in the brain and can reduce inflammation caused by free radicals,”
Uma loves a breakfast of creamy chia pudding made from almond milk. She says about it:
“In the morning, I top it with plain coconut yogurt, crushed hazelnuts, and a handful of blueberries.”