Simple tricks for more nutritious meals

parsleyThere really are simple tricks for more nutritious meals, according to Dr. Deanna Minich, a lifelong nutritionist.

One thing almost all scientists and nutritionists agree on is we all need lots of fruits and vegetables to reduce the risks of many ailments.

The list of “diet related” ailments include: Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, cancer, cognitive decline and many other ailments.

And the fact is, most modern populations are not consuming adequate amounts of the plant-based phytonutrients we need for good health.

Dr. Minich’s simple tricks for more nutritious meals include:

Focusing on variety, choosing plants to save money and health, being aware of phytonutrient superstars, whipping up ‘smoothies’ to start your day, and going further than just the produce department to plant-based foods such as nuts, seeds, non-gluten whole grains, beans and other legumes, sprouts, spices and herbs.

* Variety—making a point of choosing a variety of fruits and vegetables will help you consume many different nutrients that perform a broad spectrum of functions in the body. Rotate your fruits and vegetables and don’t get in a rut, advises Dr. Minich.

*Save money and health—studies have shown that older adults who spend much of their food money on fruits and vegetables, organic when possible, have significantly fewer hospital stays and total medical costs, compared to those who spend their money on meat and prepared foods.

*Phytonutrient superstars—these are fruits and vegetables Dr. Minich considers nutritional superstars: carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, beets, tomatoes, spinach, kale and collard greens.

*Smoothies—Whipping up a morning smoothie of whatever fruits and vegetables you have in the house in a high-speed blender is an excellent way for busy people to get their daily dose of healthy fruits and vegetables. Fresh ginger is an important addition to your morning drink.

*Nuts, seeds, non-gluten whole grains, beans and other legumes, sprouts, spices and herbs—don’t limit yourself to the produce section of the market. All these plant-based foods add the great variety of nutrients needed for better health and a leaner body.

The last of these few simple tricks for more nutritious meals is—be happy and relaxed when you eat! A relaxed mood aids digestion. Eat mindfully, chew well. Be grateful that you have food to eat.

And keep in mind that fruits and vegetables have long been associated with mood and behavior!