Changing your personal habits to help you live a healthy, nutritious lifestyle
is neither a quick nor an easy process. Maria Castelan, RD, a clinical
registered dietitian at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, provides
a few tips on how you can get on the path to health, including giving
your fridge a makeover, eating healthy on a budget and how to properly
pack a healthy lunch.
Are you thinking about changing your eating habits but are unsure of where
to start? What about giving your refrigerator a makeover. Use these 5
tips to get rid of the junk, and stock the shelves with nutritious choices.
Veggies are low in calories and jam-packed with fiber; when you eat them
you feel full longer, which keeps hunger at bay and prevents mindless
snacking later. Try adding them to omelets and quesadillas.
- Nuts and nut butters
Unlike jams, jellies, butter, and margarine, seed and nut butters naturally
contain healthful fats that benefit heart health. Try walnuts, almonds,
peanuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, or cashews. Peanut butter and almond butter
are delicious on apple slices or whole-grain toast.
- Milk and yogurt
Intake of dairy products is linked to improved bone health, and may reduce
the risk of osteoporosis. Mix yogurt with fruit and nuts for an energizing
breakfast or top with a few chocolate chips and cinnamon for a healthy dessert.
Eggs are a very good source of inexpensive, high quality protein and are
also a good source of selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12 and minerals such as
zinc, iron and copper. Keeping a few hard-boiled eggs in your fridge makes
having a healthy, protein-filled breakfast effortless.
Fruit is also a perfect snack or dessert because the sweetness satisfies
your sugar cravings. Remember that fresh, frozen, dried, and canned fruits
all count. Just watch out for varieties with added sugars or syrups.
EATING HEALTHY ON A BUDGET
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive. Use these tips to make
healthy choices while staying within your budget.
- Buy Frozen Fruits and Vegetables
Frozen produce are often picked and stored at their freshest, so you get
the same, if not better, nutritional value than fresh produce, but at
a lower cost. Buying frozen produce allows you to use your fruits and
veggies for a longer period of time. Reducing produce waste is a great
way to save money.
- Buy Certain Items in Bulk
Buying some foods in bulk quantities can save you time and money. Beans,
lentils, some nuts, brown rice and oats, are some examples of items you
can buy in bulk and which can be used in a variety of healthy meals.
- Shop Seasonally
Buying seasonal and locally grown foods is a great way to save money. Prices
for food out of season are typically more expensive due to added cost
for transportation and storage. Seasonal food will typically be consumed
closer to harvesting and can therefore be of higher in nutritional value.
- Replace Meats for Other Proteins
Meat can be expensive so stick with non-animal sources of protein like
chickpeas, lentils, and beans. Plant protein is not only lower in cost
but is generally lower in calories and fat than animal protein.
- Plan Your Meals
Planning your meals is probably one of the most important things you can
do when eating healthy in a budget. Use one day each week to plan your
meals for the upcoming week. By planning your meals you will buy only
what you need and can also be more efficient at using food items you already have.
HOW TO PACK A HEALTHY LUNCH
Packing a healthy lunch is not only easy on the wallet but can also help
you make healthier choices. Packing a balanced lunch is like building
a puzzle, making sure that you have the necessary components will help
you feel energized and satisfied throughout your workday.
Puzzle Piece #1: Protein
Proteins function as building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin,
and blood. They are also building blocks for enzymes, hormones, and vitamins.
Adding a protein source to you lunch will help curve hunger by helping
Puzzle Piece #2: Carbohydrate
Carbohydrates serve as a sturdy anchor to your meal, choosing complex carbohydrates
can keep you feeling satisfied, keep his metabolism running, and provide
some important nutrients, too.
Puzzle Piece #3: Fruits and Veggies
Think of vegetables as the main component of your meal. In accordance to
the my plate guidelines, vegetables should compromise half of your plate.
Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, water and fiber.
Experimenting with different types of vegetables is an easy way to keep
your lunch exciting and tasteful.
Puzzle Piece #4: Choosing your Beverage
The final component of packing a healthy lunch is choosing the right beverage.
Many of the popular soft drinks, teas and even juices can pile on extra
calories to your meal. Sticking to natural water, unsweetened tea and
low fat milk options are great drink alternatives.