Even when our intentions are best, there can still be a few small things that you can tweak to get the most out of your healthy diet. Here are a few small suggestions to get you the best nutritional bang for your buck.
- Shake your non-dairy. Almond, soy, and other non-dairy milks are often fortified with calcium and vitamin D. But the added nutrients don’t stay in the liquid very well, and tend to sink to the bottom of the container. If you drink without shaking first, you can’t reap the benefits of the added vitamins and minerals. Shake it up!
- You focus on ‘sugar-free’ or ‘fat-free’. In this case, less is not more. By replacing sugar or fat, there might be hidden ‘fake’ items like aspartame or other highly processed items. Keep your food sources closest to their whole form as much as possible or go for full fat and naturally lower sugar products like pain Greek yogurt with sliced strawberries and a dash of Agave syrup instead of pre-mixed strawberry yogurt.
- Don’t go overboard on smoothies. A smoothie made of cashew butter, vanilla yogurt, banana, chia, and skim milk may sound delicious, but it can pack over 400 calories! Reduce the impact by choosing ingredients that are more veggie based and go easy on the yogurt and nuts/seeds. Try a smoothie of strawberries, unsweetened almond milk, a dash of ground flax seeds, a large handful of baby spinach, and some ice cubes.
- You skip the dressing or go for fat-free. Again, you might be adding in a highly processed salad dressing, and the nutrients from vegetables are best absorbed when combined with a small amount of fat. Go for an Olive Oil and vinegar based dressing and use sparingly. Creamy dressings also tend to add a lot of fat and calories. If you just can’t go without ranch, look into a brand that is made with yogurt and in the refrigerator aisle. The refrigeration requirement tends to mean that the dressing does not have a ton of preservatives from the beginning.
- Refueling with sports drinks. For the most part, sports drinks have excessive amounts of calories and sugar. While sports drinks are a good idea to consume after a long sweat session to restore electrolytes, a better alternative is good old water after a shorter activity like a long walk. Use sports drinks sparingly, and don’t serve them as an everyday beverage.