Turns out it takes more than an apple a day to keep the doctor away. But don’t fret. It’s easy to tweak your diet to focus on foods full of essential vitamins and nutrients to help get you ready for the springtime ahead.
The more conscientious we are about what we eat (from shopping for ingredients to growing vegetables), the more mindful we are to make sure our meals contain foods full of antioxidants – like vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Integrating these foods into your diet doesn’t have to be difficult and doesn’t require any gourmet cooking either.
Add Color to Your Plate
Incorporate fresh fruits, vegetables and grains in your meals. Veggies and fruits high in vitamin E and C are good choices.
To reap the biggest benefits of these antioxidants, eat your veggies raw or lightly steamed – no fancy preparations are necessary. Try simple, light ways of preparing vitamin-rich foods and you may find yourself with a family of veggie fanatics at the next dinner.
With just a little sauté of olive oil on the stove, Brussels sprouts are ready to eat – and they’re good! Stick kale leaves in the oven with some oil and sea salt, and enjoy crispy kale chips in place of potato chips (no grease, but lots of nutrition). Of course, the usual staples of broccoli and carrots are always good backups. The vitamins and calcium in spinach, combined with its overall nutritional value, make it a great food choice. Just a simple side of steamed spinach packs a powerful punch!
A Strong Start
For a healthy breakfast choice, integrate vitamin-rich fruits and grains. Have fresh strawberries, berries and oranges on hand for a zesty shock to the taste buds in the morning. Add a spoonful of berries or fresh granola on top of Greek yogurt. Swap out sugared cereals for whole grain. Make simple, healthy smoothies with some milk, ice cubes, fresh frozen fruit and honey.Tip: You can even add some Metamucil Orange Smooth Fiber Powder to up your daily fiber intake.
The Power of Zinc
Veggies and fruits aren’t the only foods important for healthy diet: Foods high in zinc have resounding effects too. Keeping a good amount of zinc in our diet is important to maintain the development of white blood cells – the cells that recognize and destroy harmful bacteria and viruses. Getting your dose can come from lean beef, poultry or pork. (Not into meat? Try fortified cereals, yogurt and milk; they’ll also do the zinc trick.)
Don’t Forget Snacktime
Forget the bag of chips and close the cookie jar. Stock up on simple, nourishing and immunity-boosting treats like sliced oranges and apples (with natural peanut butter), nuts (raw almonds, raw pistachios – both high in protein and fiber), raw carrots, Greek yogurts, raisins, prunes and even grapes (try them frozen)!
Here’s the bottom line: One of our best defenses against illness comes in the food we put on our plates. Making sure we’re eating nutritious foods full of vitamins and minerals will help our bodies run more smoothly.