In order to maintain proper nutrition, it is important to have the best foods available to you. It is important to eat from the major food categories, i.e. protein, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans/legumes and fats.
There are many protein sources to choose from including fish, chicken and beef. Other protein sources are sometimes hidden in whole-wheat pasta, beans and some cereals. It is important to read packaged food labels in order to discover hidden protein sources.
For vegetarians, other sources of protein include soy products, meat substitutes, lentils, nuts and items from the other categories like legumes and whole grains. Eating foods rich in vitamin C such as strawberries, oranges and the like at the same time as non-animal protein helps the body absorb iron.
Here are my favorites or my best of the best.
- Apples – Remember the saying, an apple a day keeps the doctor away? At an economical price and readily available in your grocery store, apples put needed fiber, vitamin C and potassium into your day.
- Blueberries – These berries are rich in vitamins C, B complex, A and E. They also help provide iron, copper, selenium and zinc which are beneficial in building the immune system.
- Tuna Fish – This fish is packed with protein and a good source of vitamin D. Although information about the benefits are seemingly still being discovered, tuna fish also has essential omega-3 fatty acids. I love a tuna fish sandwich – just don’t have too many as there are low levels of methylmercury.
- Salmon – Salmon is rich in color and flavor. Along with that good news, salmon gives us a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. So when you can, ask for wild salmon instead of farm raised.
Best Dairy Products:
- Yogurt – A great source of calcium, protein and active cultures, which are important for general immune health and metabolism of protein, fat, carbohydrates.
- Fat Free Milk – An excellent source of calcium, vitamins, and protein with little fat and cholesterol.
- Broccoli – Plenty of vitamin C, carotenoids that enhance the function of the immune system, and folic acid which helps produce healthy red blood cells and prevent anemia.
- Grape Tomatoes – They’re packed with vitamins C and A, some fiber and great taste with a touch of natural sweetness.
- Lentils – These legumes or beans add protein, fiber, iron, magnesium and potassium to your diet.
- Black Beans – These beans provide protein, vitamin B and iron. You can add black beans to salads, soups or burritos to add extra flavor and essential vitamins and minerals at low-cost and caloric value.
Nell’s Favorites and Also Best Bets:
100%, No Sugar Added Cranberry Juice
I must admit I’m a sucker for this juice! Just make sure you purchase the 100% no sugar added version of this juice when at your local market or grocery store. Providing a cleansing effect on your kidneys and some vitamin C, this juice could be more beneficial than orange juice.
My absolute favorite sweet substitute, hunger killer and all around convenient snack! Not only are grapes a good source of vitamins A, C and B6 they also provide minerals such as potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and selenium, as well as small amounts of copper, manganese, and zinc. They even provide get some fiber and protein. I’m in love!
So when you go to the market or grocery store, keep these items in mind. They’ll keep you full and healthy. And remember, I’m pulling for you!