Thursday, September 2, 2010

10 ways of making your favorite foods healthier

Weight Watchers® Smart Ones® and TwitterMoms have teamed up together and asked me to write a post about 10 ways that i make my favorite foods healthier. You may read more about that request here.

I am a mom of 2 school aged children and healthy eating is important to me. I try to cook and eat healthy so that I may set a good example for my children. Our children do as we do and this is important. I want to teach them a life long lesson by our eating habits at home. I am hoping that these lessons will be carried with them throughout their life so that food choices will never be a struggle for them.

My top 10 ways of making your favorite foods healthier are:

1. Whole Grains: I choose whole grain breads and pastas. These whole grains taste good and they are good for you. Whole grains are filling also. I use whole grain bread for sandwiches. I also use whole grain pasta for spagetti and other dishes.

2. Orange Juice: I try to drink a glass of orange juice once a day with my breakfast. Orange juice is awesome for you! A 6 ounce serving of fresh-squeezed OJ helps to lower "bad" LDL cholesterol while boosting "good" HDL cholesterol. It reduces your risk of heart disease, stroke, colon cancer and hypertension and supples you with twice your daily requirement for vitamin C. Orange Juice has ample amounts of potassium, folate (a B vitamin that may help prevent heart disease, cancer, and birth defects) and a phytochemical called d-limonene that detoxifies cancer-causing substances. Calcium- and vitamin D-fortified juice helps maintain bones and possibly curb PMS symptoms. Wow, can you say more?

3. Carrots: Enjoy a carrot a day. A carrot a day adds color and crunch to your meals. I like to added shredded carrots to my salads and homemade breads. The carotenes in carrots also lower risks of heart attack by up to 45%.

4. Nuts: Nuts are a good source of protein, magnesium, vitamin E and the B vitamins. I like to send nuts to school for my children to snack on. Research from the British Medical Journal shows that a handful of nuts eaten as a snack a few times a week lowers your risk of heart disease by 35%.

5. Eat fish: Cold-water fish like salmon, mackerel or tuna are good for you. You can add these to fresh green salads or you can add them to a pasta salad if you wish. The omega-3 fats in these fish help lower heart-disease risk, and research shows that they also might help sidestep age-related memory loss, depression and even osteoporosis. Fish is our friend!

6. Enjoy soy: Soy foods lower your risk of heart disease by reducing levels of blood cholesterol. I use soy milk in smoothies and with our morning cereal. The isoflavones in soy are antioxidants that have antiproliferative and anti-migratory effects on smooth muscle cells that line artery walls, and reduce blood-clot formation.

7. Avacodos: I like to mash avocados and spread on sandwiches instead of using mayonnaise. While we try to limit fats in general, the fats in avocado are heart-healthy. They add a rich flavor, creamy texture and an extra dose of nutrients to meals. One avocado supplies one-fourth of your daily need for magnesium, folate and vitamin A, plus lots of B vitamins and trace minerals.

8. Choose fat free dairy: Fat-free half & half, sour cream and cream cheese could save you several hundred calories a day. They taste good and cook well also. I like to choose fat free dairy because it's good for me.

9. Fruits and Veggies: We try to include a fresh fruit and vegetable with every meal. Fruits and veggies are good fillers and they contain many vitamins and nutrients. Fresh fruits and veggies are also easy to prepare. You simply wash them, cut them and enjoy!

10. Water: We drink a lot of water so that our bodies may stay hydrated and work propperly. We choose to drink water over sugary drinks. It does our body good and it doesn't add any extra calories.

I have found that the way that you eat effects the way that you feel. If you eat good then you will feel good, today and tomorrow. How do you make your favorite foods healthier? If we all share our suggestions for living healthier we will all benefit.

Disclosure: I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and WeightWatchers SmartOnes blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

1 comment:

Busy Working Mama said...

Great post! I am so lucky that my daughter is a veggie-holic. I can't do the fat free dairy, though. I prefer the light sour cream. It tastes just as good as the regular!