It’s summer time, and that means a lot of produce is cheap. Or, at least cheaper than it is in the winter. That means it is a good time to try and add some new items to your menu because they will be inexpensive, and fresh.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to get some healthy foods into my diet:
Avocados: I never ate avocados until I visited my brother in southern California,where guacamole is served everywhere. It just took me one week to get hooked, and luckily, it is good for you too. I love to have some ripe avocado (soft, but no brown spots) sliced on a sandwich. In addition, I make a lot of guacamole, and it is really easy to make. I just mash a few avocados, sprinkle some garlic salt on top and add a squeeze of lemon juice. Mix it together and refrigerate an hour or so. I then serve it with some salsa and chips. My kids (well 2 out of 3) really enjoy it too. Eat it fast though, because it will turn brown on the surface if it sits overnight.
Benefits of Avocados: Avocadoes are full of lutein, which is excellent for the eyes and protecting against macular degeneration. Avocados also contain some other eye-protecting anti-oxidants. In addition, the good fats in avocados aid in the absorption of lycopene, so serve guacamole along with that salsa for maximum benefit. Avocado is also believed to aid in the prevention of some cancers.
Yogurt: Yogurt is very healthy, especially the kind that is not overloaded with sugar/high fructose corn syrup. My kids love to eat yogurt two ways: smoothies and in parfaits.
To make a yogurt smoothie, just dump a container of yogurt in a magic bullet or blender, along with a banana (frozen banana works great), strawberries, blueberries, or any fruit of your choice. Add a splash of orange juice and even a little protein powder and it makes for a very healthy and filling breakfast. Plus, you end up throwing out less bananas if you end up freezing them for smoothies as they get ripe. Remove the peels from the bananas before freezing though.
A parfait is pretty self explanatory. Just get some yogurt, cover in fruit and then sprinkle some granola all over the top. Again, makes for an excellent breakfast.
Benefits of Yogurt: Provides your body with much needed calcium, and also probiotics for the digestive tract.
Nuts: I don’t really have any special ideas for eating nuts, but you can eat them any time of day. Personally, I sometimes even have cashews or almonds with my breakfast. Nuts are also very portable, so they are easy to keep in the car as a snack. (Just beware of those with allergies.)
Benefits of nuts: Studies have shown that eating nuts regularly can reduce the risk of heart disease by 35 percent. In addition, the healthy fats found in nuts can help lower cholesterol and triglycerides. Nuts also contain antioxidants, protein and fiber. Just don’t eat them overly salted.
So, next time you are at the grocery store, keep these items in mind and give them a try. If you have any other ways to integrate these items into your diet, please leave a comment below.