There are a few categories of food I make sure to eat daily for a healthy and well-balanced diet. In this article, I share 5 of these categories to give you some nutrient-packed inspiration.
Ground Flax Seeds
With a slight nutty taste that blends so well in almost any dish, ground flax seeds are one of the best ways to get your daily dose of omega-3 fats from a plant source. I've gotten into the habit of having this every morning: either in my oatmeal, smoothie, or breakfast parfait. If you don't like flax seeds, other sources of omega-3 fats are chia seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts and can be used in the exact same way.
Here’s a tip: buy your flax seeds in bulk to save money and grind what you need for the next couple weeks using a coffee grinder and store the ground seeds in the fridge. Store the whole seeds in the freezer until you're ready to grind some more. Of course to save time, you can just buy ground flax seeds too. The key here though is for the flax seeds to be ground, so your body can easily access and absorb the omega-3 fats.
A healthy gut is a gateway to good health, and because over 75% of our immune system located in our intestines, we want to make sure we're treating it well. My daily dose of probiotics most often comes from an unsweetened soy yogurt: blended into my smoothie or enjoyed with my homemade granola and some fresh fruit. Of course any other plant-based yogurt will work too.
If I haven't had the yogurt, I'll have some homemade sauerkraut with my lunch or dinner. This delicious fermented cabbage is a salty and crunchy accompaniment to any dish, much like pickles. I make a batch every couple months which you can then store in the fridge for up to 3 months. Other sources of healthy probiotics are refreshing kombucha, kimchi and tempeh. Any source of probiotics, at least once a day will be showing your gut some much-needed love.
Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens top the list when it comes to the vitamins and minerals they offer. It's a great way to get some extra fiber, and add some beautiful colour to your meal. My go-to is organic spinach, but you can also use arugula, kale or any other greens, really. Blend your spinach into a smoothie in the morning, add it to your wraps or sandwiches for lunch, or enjoy as a salad on the side of dinner. If you're new to greens in your smoothies, you can try this peanut butter and banana smoothie - I guarantee it's going to become one of your favourites, and you can't even taste the greens! Perfect for any picky toddlers out there. Or… picky adults.
I've really come to learn the importance of keeping our bones strong, especially after working as a dietitian at an Osteoporosis Centre. It's what we eat in our early years that affect our later years, so don't wait when it comes to making healthy choices today. Plant-milks like almond, soy, or rice milk can be great sources of calcium - but make sure the label says calcium has been added. I've written a short and uncomplicated article on how much calcium you need and how to read the labels, so be sure to check it out if you're interested.
Use this plant-milk as the liquid in your smoothies, cook your morning porridge with this instead of water, or enjoy some homemade lattes using heated up soy milk with an earl grey tea bag or some dissolved instant coffee granules. Don't forget to sprinkle on the cinnamon!
Berries are the crown jewels of summer. But frozen berries or dried goji berries, you can enjoy year round. Best of all, berries deliver super-healthy antioxidants that help to combat disease. It's easy to include in lunch boxes as a snack or add to salads as a little built-in packages of salad dressing. Goji berries can be added to homemade cookies or granola bars to give it an extra antioxidant boost. Don't have berries? Really, all fruits have beneficial antioxidants. Oranges, mangoes, kiwis - munch on these throughout the day for a happy belly and healthy body.
And so there you have it: five categories of foods I include in my diet every day. All of which can be enjoyed first thing in the morning, so you know you've got a good start to the day. Happy eating!
» SPEEDY & CREAMY STEEL-CUT OATS
» MIXED BERRY & GRANOLA YOGURT PARFAIT
» BEETROOT & RED CABBAGE SAUERKRAUT
» BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO KOMBUCHA: CONTINUOUS BREW
» RUBY RED GREEN SMOOTHIE
» BEGINNER'S GREEN SMOOTHIE: PEANUT BUTTER & BANANA
» CHEWY NO-BAKE PEANUT BUTTER DARK CHOCOLATE OAT BARS
» CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT MILKSHAKE SMOOTHIE
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