Simple Tips to Help You Choose Real Food
How to Get You Started:
Choose organic and seasonal fruits and vegetables whenever possible
- Choose organic whenever possible (the label begins with #9).
- Choose seasonal then build on your choice.
- Seasonal allows you to benefit from the natural diversity of produce while freshness means benefiting from their higher nutritional content.
- Buy from your local farmer’s market or order from a butcher that is committed to meat that is free of hormones, antibiotics and grass feed. (Reducing your meat intake is healthier and helps make this more affordable).
- Be sure to choose lean cuts of meat (like round, top sirloin, and tenderloin).
- Poultry – opt for organic and consume it skinless.
- Keep portions to the size of your palm.
- Eggs – are a great source of protein, carbs and fat. Opt for organic and even better cage-free egg. The darker the egg yolk the better.
Choose Wild-caught or Organic Fish
- Salmon is a popular choice. Sardines are an inexpensive superfood.
- Cod, tilapia and fish that swim near the surface have less mercury.
Example: beans, chickpeas, peas, lentils, Tofu (organic, non-GMO).
Stock up on canned, organic beans for preparing quick, healthy protein packed meals.
- Choose the least processed brands that are made from whole grains, sprouted grains, or gluten-free options. Stay away from white breads. Check local bakeries for fresh options.
- Read the labels – long shelf-life equals added preservatives.
Keep in mind “The longer the shelf life, the shorter yours”.
Canned and Dried Foods
- Even though keeping a variety of canned vegetables, fruits, and beans on hand to toss into soups, salads, pasta, or rice dishes is handy. I sparingly use canned food (we use tuna, sardine and coconut milk/cream). The reasons are that most canned foods can contain preservatives, BPA, aluminum leakage from cans into the food, and a loss of nutrients in the food. If you do buy canned food, go for organic. Some types of cans have a ceramic lining from the inside that will prevent aluminum leakage. If you find the same food option packed in glass jars or paper packets, opt for them. Purchase the “no sodium added” or “low sodium” versions and opt for fruit that’s packed in it’s own juice without added sugar or syrup.
- Fresh water albacore tuna and organic beans are great to have on hand.
- If you do dairy, organic whole milk is an excellent source of bone-building calcium and vitamin D. Try switching to unsweetened almond or coconut milk. You can also experiment with making your own almond milk. Ask me for the recipe.
- Mainstream cereals are heavily processed. They are a quick and easy option that is advertised as healthy. This is misleading because they lose their nutrients during processing and are then ‘fortified’ or spayed with vitamins and minerals to render them appealing to the consumer you. They are best eliminated from your diet.
- If you decide to keep them in your diet, the list of ingredients should be short and have no more than 6 grams of sugar and at least 4 grams of fiber. Carefully check granola labels as even the “low-fat” variety tend to have more fat and sugar than other cereals.
- Alternatives to white processed sugar – to be used in moderation are:
- Raw honey, organic maple syrup, coconut palm sugar, pure stevia (green stevia) are good for sweetening coffee and teas and baking.
- Barley malt, organic black strap molasses, brown rice syrup, date syrup and date paste are good for buttery flavor in cooking and baking.
- To satisfy a sweet tooth, increase your consumption of root vegetables and sweet fruits such as carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, berries and melons.
- Refined sugar draws vitamins out of your body in order to be digested. It is hidden in many food items such as store bought sauces, ketchup and beverages. It is detrimental to our health and has been linked to chronic diseases such as diabetes. Read labels and look for low sugar content – aim for no more than 5-10 grams of sugar per meal/snack (the less the better!)
*One level teaspoon of white sugar is 4 grams.
Oils and Fats
- Ditch the bleached, processed canola or vegetable oil.
- Go for real butter, ghee (organic-grass fed), olive or coconut oil (cold pressed, unrefined and organic when possible).
- Choose those in dark containers to keep from going rancid.
- For low temperature cooking and seasoning use sesame and olive oils.
- For high temperature cooking and baking use coconut oil, grape seed oil, avocado oil, butter or ghee.
- Vegetable and bone broths are a great way to add vitamins and minerals to your meals.
- Homemade broth can be made in large quantities and frozen in glass containers and ice-cube maker.
- Commercial broth like Maggy are loaded with toxic additives like MSG and in turn, should be avoided. Ready-made broth should be organic and preferably low-sodium. Check the labels for preservatives.
Grains, Flour and Pasta
- Choose organic brown rice, grain mixes, quinoa, bulgur, and barley. Remember to soak your grains over night in some water and a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate. Throw out the water before using it.
- White pastas are processed foods empty of nutrients. They are not recognized by your body as food. Instead, try brown rice noodles, soba noodles, gluten-free noodles and those made from dehydrated vegetables (such as tomato & spinach).
I love my freezer. It’s the size of my fridge and I never seem to have enough space!
Stock your freezer with:
- Organic frozen fruits and vegetables
- Squeezed lemon in cubes
- Tomato sauce
- and many seasoned, cooked and uncooked dishes.
- Keep them in your fridge. Stock up on Tamari (gluten-free soya sauce) Dijon mustard, balsamic and organic apple cider vinegar for salads/dressings.
- If you use it, buy or make your own Ketchup.
- Spices add flavors and come with different health benefits.
- Include in your pantry: cumin, chili pepper, turmeric, curry, sea salt, cracked black pepper, garlic, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
- Use fresh organic herbs when available and organic dried herbs if fresh are not available. Essentials: basil, garlic, oregano, rosemary, thyme, coriander and parsley.
Nuts and Seeds
- Raw walnuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts and macadamia.
- Seeds: chia, pumpkin, sunflower, black and sesame seeds.
- Avoid peanuts and pistachios as they contain a mold that is unsafe to eat.
Have you already integrated some of these changes?
Are you ready to add-in more of the good, get rid of the extra weight to feel and look good?
Yasmine is a Nutrition and Health Coach whose rich professional expertise is complemented by a caring, fun and integrative approach to nutrition and wellbeing. Through Healthytude, her nutrition and health coaching business, Yasmine offers a unique transformative experience. Her talent is making her clients’ nutrition needs reachable while helping them identify the life areas they need the most support with– physical, mental and emotional. As a result, her clients reach the healthiest, happiest, and most productive version of themselves. Follow Yasmine’s journey on Instagram and Facebook.