Being healthy is so important to many of us and developing good eating habits is the best way to get on track to a better regime. Sometimes it may seem like a lot of effort, but there are a few simple things you can do on a daily basis that will eventually become habitual and will help you to prevent many physical problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes and cancer prevention. Many of these items listed below don't require an extra trip out to the health food store either because saving time is always key in a busy life.
Nutrients needed for women during childbearing years
Chances are you probably aren't getting enough iron in your diet to replenish what you lose when you menstruate. It is very important to eat more foods high in iron such as chicken, fish, fortified cereals, legumes, nuts and leafy green vegetables. A multivitamin high in iron could also help fight fatigue and loss of energy due to low iron. Other important nutrients women need include folic acid (vitamin B), B12, choline, Omega-3, vitamin D and calcium. If you aren't already eating a lot of these, add them to your weekly meal plan; sardines, salmon, mackerel, eggs, oranges, figs, avocado, kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, edamame, watercress, bok choy, okra, collard greens, peas, asparagus, lentils, white beans, tofu, almonds and peanuts.
Use more chia seeds
Chia seeds are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. They are loaded with fiber, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and various micronutrients. Have a jar always on hand and don't ever serve yourself or your little ones another bowl of yogurt without it again. It is also great sprinkled on salad, however mixed in yogurt is the only way my little ones will eat it.
Eat more fish
Fish is such an integral part of a healthy diet for your body and brain to function optimally and is strongly linked to reduced risk of heart attacks, strokes and many diseases. It also helps to reduce depression and is the only good dietary source of vitamin D. Some have also said that it helps strengthen vision, improve sleep quality and prevent asthma in children. Eat the right fish high in fatty acids at least twice a week. High in Omega-3 fatty acid are mackerel 1.8%, lake trout 1.6%, herring 1.5%, sardines 1.4%, salmon 1.1% and halibut 0.6%.
Make smoothies with the kids
This is a perfect way to add spinach to your little one's diet; they won't even notice it's in there. Try a strawberry banana smoothie with a handful of hemp hearts, spinach and not-from-concentrate apple juice. I guarantee you, they will be asking for seconds. Plus, it's a great way to spend quality time with your littles. We have a lot of fun in our home making smoothies together.
Eat an orange and dark green vegetable EVERY day
These vegetables are rich in antioxidants. Orange vegetables and fruits are high in vitamin C, potassium and folates; important for healthy cell development and keeping blood pressure at par. Dark green vegetables are high in vitamin A/C/K, folate, calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium; helping prevent heart disease. Keep the peel on cucumber, potatoes, carrots & root vegetables. This is where you'll find most of the nutrients; though I make an exception for raw carrots when preparing them for my little ones.
Check the Canada food guide here.
Green tea and white tea
Drink at least 1 cup of green tea or white tea a day. Did you know that white tea contains the same antioxidants as green tea but in higher quantities? Tea is great for boosting cardiovascular health, lowering cholesterol, reducing the risk of cancer and aiding with weight loss. They have also been known for having anti-aging benefits for your skin.
Add 1 tbs of unfiltered apple cider vinegar a day for 60 days to your diet
Adding 1 tbs of raw organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar every day for 60 days will help with nutrient absorption, cancer prevention, heartburn & reflux alleviation, healthy cholesterol & blood sugar levels, diabetes and weight loss. Do not drink it on it's own or you could risk burning your esophagus. Try drinking a hot water mixture of ACV with organic/wild/unpasteurized honey in the morning for a burst of energy. It contains many antioxidants and is great to use when making homemade salad dressings.
Swap-outs and Habits
Swap out table syrup for real maple syrup (there's a huge difference... maple syrup is good for you and table syrup is not) and milk chocolate for dark chocolate; dark chocolate is very high in fiber, iron, manganese and copper. Eat less chips and more popcorn; popcorn is full of great nutrients & has more iron than spinach. Get into the habit of eating brown rice, quinoa and beans. Boil brown rice in chicken broth for more flavour & don't strain; prepare 1 cup of brown rice in 2.5 cups of broth, 1 tbs non-salted butter and 1 tsp sea salt. Served with the right sauce, you won't even notice it's not white rice. Try this teriyaki salmon recipe on a bed of brown rice. Swap out white pasta for wholegrain... eventually you'll get used to it and never go back to white pasta again. Do it!!
Cut back on sugary beverages and drink more water
Even juice has a lot of sugar, so try to cut back on your daily intake. Add coconut water into the mix instead. And if you're not big on the taste, try the flavoured types like pineapple coconut water which is a hit in our house. Did you know that having a glass of lemon water every morning is not only good for your body but great for your skin as well? And drinking a glass of lemon water in the morning is a great way to get vitamin C that helps with digestion, which will in turn promote healthy weight loss. Lemon water is also great for boosting your immune system in the winter. Prepare in a cup of hot water and add ginger for great taste and even more boost.
Load up on vitamin D in the winter
Vitamin D is essential for bone health and great for helping with depression and colds in the winter. Eat more fatty (good fat) fish especially in the winter.