Updated: Oct 8
Did you know March is National Nutrition Month? Nutrition is a key aspect to supporting your health & fitness goals, not just for today, but for the long haul. So let's talk about a few simple ways you can incorporate nutritionally dense foods that will support your healthy living goals!
Why is healthy nutrition so important?
Because what we eat has the ability to empower healthy body function, enable us to meet our body’s energy demands, enhance our fitness performance and recovery, support a healthy weight, and reduce our risk of disease. Now that is pretty powerful!
How can you get more nutrition out of your daily diet?
Eat from the rainbow! Studies show eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps to reduce the risk of disease while also supplying the body with essential vitamins and minerals. Next time you are in the produce aisle take a look at what foods are red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple - those are your nutrition powerhouses! Shopping from the rainbow can also be a great way to encourage your kids to eat healthy by having them participate in the shopping experience. Make shopping for fruits and veggies a fun game by creating a scavenger hunt, asking the kids to find something red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and/or purple to add to the grocery cart!
Here are some of our favorite "rainbow" foods:
Red: apples, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, watermelon
Orange: carrots, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, oranges, peppers
Yellow: bananas, pineapple, peppers, squash
Green: apples, pears, broccoli, grapes, cucumbers, spinach, zucchini
Blue: blueberries, blackberries, beets, figs
Purple: grapes, plums, beets, eggplant
Not a fan of fruits and/or vegetables? Have a picky eater in the house?
Fortunately most fruits and vegetables can easily be sneaked into other dishes! Smoothies, salads and baked goods for example are great ways to "disguise" those healthy foods and ensure everyone is getting those essential nutrients.
Here are a few simple ways you can incorporate more fruits and veggies:
Add a handful of spinach to your next smoothie along with a variety of berries and a banana. For non-veggie eaters this is a great way to sneak in some greens and bonus you are empowering nutrient absorption by pairing co-factor foods together (because foods rich in vitamin C help the body absorb iron more efficiently!)
Toss some thinly sliced fruit or veggies on your next salad. A nice bed of leafy greens topped with shredded carrot, sliced cucumber, dried cranberries, sliced strawberries, sliced mandarin oranges is a great way to enjoy those fresh flavors of the season!
Are you a pasta fan? Try adding mushrooms, variety of peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, etc. to your next pasta dish! Our eyes are just as susceptible as our taste buds so adding color to a plain white dish can be a great way to distract from the “healthy” we are eating by engaging the taste buds in new way with some fabulous and complementary flavors!
Next time you fire up the grill try throwing on some fresh vegetables (and even fruits!) to pair with your favorite lean protein. Did you know the acid and water density found in many fruits and vegetables actually offers a great natural baster to a meat dish? And the grill often softens course textures which detour some of us from eating those veggies, leaving us with a crisp, light and in some cases much milder and softer version.
Create a colorful pizza or tasty flatbread topped with a variety of fruits and vegetables such as pineapple, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, artichokes, broccoli, olives, apple or pear! Yep the possibilities are pretty endless on this one!
Sauté your favorite vegetables and lay them over a bed of brown rice or quinoa for a delicious clean eats stir fry that packs a nutrient punch!
Finely chop, dice or grate vegetables to add to omelets, scrambled eggs or breakfast muffins (zucchini, spinach and carrot are great here!)
Dip fresh cut vegetables in hummus, low fat Greek yogurt, or natural peanut butter for a healthy snack alternative!
Sprinkle fresh berries atop low fat Greek yogurt and create a healthy parfait loaded with antioxidant power!
Bottom line - there are many ways you can incorporate fruits and vegetables into your daily diet. Get creative, play with color and flavor! Soon you will discover some tasty combinations and simple ways you can sneak a little more in each day, enabling you to get a nutrient boost all week long! Eating from the rainbow makes eating healthy not only easy, but fun!
Are you an ambitious man or woman who's ready to feel strong, live healthy, and get fit? Discover how to take small steps to get healthy & fit without cutting out the foods you love or spending countless hours on cardio. Come join me inside my online Facebook Community - The Healthy Habits Club. It's where ambitious folks go for the tips, tools and support they need to eat healthy, move daily, and feel good for life!