This blog entry was inspired by a recent conversation with a good friend of mine who has made the decision to cultivate a healthier dietary lifestyle. I offered to compile a list of basic healthy dietary guidelines with some simple meal suggestions so that he can hopefully make an educated and easy transition. I would like to share these ideas with you and welcome any of your suggestions. So here goes...
Guidelines to a balanced diet:
30-40% of diet to include fresh, local, seasonal vegetables and fruits.
20-30% of diet to include whole grains such as brown rice, oats, whole wheat, corn, and quinoa.
20-30% of diet to include proteins such as tofu, tempeh, beans, and fresh unsalted nuts.
5% of diet to include fats such as olive oil, butter, or sesame oil.
Meat, alcohol, coffee, sugar, and dairy all make the body acidic and a healthy body is more alkaline. Vegetables are highly alkaline and even simply adding lemon to water helps.
Good eating habits include eating whole foods, seasonal fruits and veggies, eating in smaller portions, eating regularly, slowly and while relaxed.
*Chia pudding layered with home made granola and fresh fruit.
*Oatmeal or quinoa porridge with seasonal fruit, sprouted nuts, and cinnamon.
*Whole grain English muffin or sprouted Ezekial bread with all natural peanut or almond butter (no hydrogenated oils!) and sliced banana.
*Fruit salad alone or with a dollop of coconut cream.
*Fruit Smoothies: keep frozen fruit in freezer (berries, bananas, mango) and blend with coconut milk, agave or honey, and whatever spices or healthy compliments you like.
*Tofu and spinach scramble with spicy sweet potato hash
*Smoothie bowls with granola, fresh fruit, chia seeds, and coconut.
**can add wheat germ or ground flaxseeds to most of these meals for added nutrients and flavor. If you eat cereal make sure the sugar content is low and fiber is high.
*Sandwiches made with whole-grain bread (check labels for high fructose corn syrup = not good for you) and fillings such as: hummus, baba ghanoush, and lots of veggies. Serve with tortilla chips, pretzels, or other quality snack chip or be really good and have veggie sticks, salad or fruit.
*Hearty Mexican food: whole-grain or corn tortillas, black beans, brown rice, salsa, chopped lettuce/spinach, nutritional yeast for cheezy flavor.
*Salads with a protein such as garbanzo beans, black bean, or tofu. Be careful of the dressing used. Go for just oil and vinegar, and use just enough to give it flavor. Can add sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, nuts, dried cranberries, etc. Also choose dark leafy green salads over iceberg lettuce.
Italian Chopped Salad (try changing the beans, greens, nuts and dressing to vary):
Canned chickpeas, grape or cherry tomatoes, optional raw vegetarian feta, kalamata olives, pepperoncini peppers, roasted red pepper strips, pine nuts – mix together and marinate in a tiny bit of balsamic vinegar. Serve on a bed of greens and drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper.
*Last night’s leftovers! See Dinner Ideas for use as lunch dishes as well.
*Lentil sloppy joes with whole grain bread, sweet potato fries, kale vegan caeser salad.
*Fajitas: tofu strips, lightly sautéed peppers/onions/mushrooms/spinach, beans, salsa, whole-grain or corn tortillas (no white flour tortillas).
*Whole-grain or gluten free pasta (or try spaghetti squash) with steamed veggies and either tomato sauce or olive oil; serve with green salad.
*Homemade chili – beans, diced tomatoes, corn, carrots, spices, etc. Serve with brown rice and nutritional yeast.
*Stir-fry: brown rice/udon noodles/rice noodles/whole-wheat pasta, veggies, tofu, tamari.
Spicy Stir Fry (can be served warm for dinner or as a cold noodle salad for lunch):
8 oz. whole wheat linguine noodles, 1 Tablespoon peanut oil, 1 cup thinly sliced onion, 2 small cloves minced garlic, 1 ½ cups bok choy chopped, 1 ½ cup broccoli florets, 1/3 cup halved snow peas, ½ red bell pepper thinly sliced, 2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce, 1 Tablespoon garlic-chile sauce, ¼ cup chopped peanuts. (add or delete veggies to taste, change spices/seasonings to taste) Cook pasta according to directions. Saute oil, veggies, and seasonings. Serve over pasta and top with peanuts.
Get your sweet fix by eating a handful of raisins, dates, figs, or dried cranberries. Enjoy coconut milk whipped cream, fresh fruit, or baked fruit. Or splurge on a piece of organic dark chocolate.
Snacks can be: any fruit; cut up sticks of veggies to have on hand and dip in hummus, organic tortilla chips and salsa; a handful of unsalted walnuts, almonds, or brazil nuts; make homemade trail mix out of nuts, raisins, dried cranberries, and sunflower seeds; smoothies.
Incorporate good fats in your diet such as walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, avocado, flaxseed oil and olive oil.
Look for whole-grains, low sugar, high fiber, low sodium, no food colorings, no high fructose corn syrup, no hydrogenated oils, and especially no preservatives such as MSG, EDTA, BHA, or BHT.
Healthy food should taste good and you should enjoy it. Don’t focus on what you can’t or should not eat, but rather the abundance of wonderful things you can eat. Eat all the vegetables and fruits you want, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. It might take a bit for your taste buds to adjust, but once they do you will notice how funky the fatty, fried, sugary, preservative filled foods taste. Go easy on yourself and do the best you can. Know that it may be a bit challenging, but you can do it!!!
If you have a bad food day, that’s ok, just make a conscious decision to eat better the next time you do. There are many things we cannot control in life, but what we put into our mouths and bodies we can. Take control, fuel your body, feel good, look good, and smile knowing that you are on your way to lots of energy and vitality!
This blog is an exploration of life, love, adventure and art primarily through the medium of food.