Be a Food Fashionista: Getting the Most Out Of Your Food
Are you looking for ways to optimize your nutrition? Think about your plate like your wardrobe: key pieces as well as accessories to create a complete outfit, or in this case, a complete meal. You choose your clothes based on your mood, the season, how they look and fit, and don’t we choose our foods the same way? What are you in the mood for, what is seasonal, and what looks good, tastes good and makes you feel good.
We can coordinate, mix and match, accessorize, mix higher cost items with lower cost pieces, so let’s apply this to your plate.
1. Create the Foundation.
Think about your plate as a blank canvas. What do you start with? The foundation – which in this case, means the protein – and the choices are endless:
• Lean meat (beef, pork, veal, lamb)
• Low-fat dairy foods
• Soy foods
Strive to fill at least 1/3 of the plate from this list of foods.
2. Inject Color.
To create visual appeal (and health appeal), add in some color with fruits and vegetables. You can use fresh, frozen, canned, sautéed, grilled, roasted,
pureed and as soups, sauces, stews or salads.
Aim to fill 1/3-1/2 of the plate to be colorful.
3. Complete the Look.
To complete the plate, bring on the grains! Grains provide the balance, the enjoyment and the nutritional bargain. Mix and match your grain choices, such
• Whole wheat
• Brown rice
Try to fill 1/4 – 1/3 of the plate with these foods.
And a good trick to keep in mind is to combine steps 2 & 3, by adding vegetables and/or fruit to your grains. Examples of delicious combinations include:
• Rice, bean, dried cherry pilaf, or
• Roasted corn, black bean, red pepper salad, or
• Bulgur with onions, mushrooms, peas, or
• Quinoa, spinach, baby tomatoes, or
• Whole wheat tortilla, black beans, guacamole and salsa.
Now it is time to customize and personalize, by adding fat for flavor, crunch and health value. Fat options include:
• Olive oil
• Nut butter
Remember it’s important to include a little fat as part of each meal.
5. Add the Finishing Touches.
Now, bring on the herbs, spices and vinegars to jazz up the plate and your palate. Good options include:
• Chili peppers
• Fresh ginger
• Cayenne pepper
This gives your plate a new taste without calories!
Ok, so what do you do if you need to make modifications to create your plate? It’s easy! For example:
• If you are not a fish eater, and don’t include walnuts or flaxseed, you may want to add a fish oil supplement to provide the necessary omega 3 fatty acids.
• Not a big meat eater? A multivitamin-mineral can give you the needed B12, as well as zinc, iron and copper.
• No eggs or dairy? You may benefit from vitamin D.
But before you take any supplements, talk with your healthcare advisor to make sure you buy what is right for you.
Outfit your plate to eat well, live well and stay well!
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The Supplemental is a blog for "Life...supplemented", a forum for discussion around healthy diet, supplements and exercise. Our panel of experts who share a variety of fresh and innovative perspectives, will provide ways to live a healthier life and inspire you to make smart choices.
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