Kristine M. Napier, MPH, RD
Yes, you can have it all during busy summer days. You can find time to work out and also work in enjoyably scrumptious and healthy foods that fuel your workout (including marathon days of yard work!).
Five Best Daily Tips for Healthy Eating
1. Eat two or three different colored vegetables a day to ensure a variety of phytochemicals and other types of antioxidants — the nutrients you need most to repair microscopic tears your muscles get while working out. Antioxidants also help prevent cancer and heart disease. How much? At least two handfuls at both lunch and dinner.
2. Work in omega-3s — those healthy fats from certain types of fish and some vegetables. They are thought to help slash the risk of heart disease (one of the reasons you exercise), cancer and immune system diseases. The best catches include salmon, tuna (canned or fresh) and halibut.
3. Work in better fats and fats with a purpose, such as peanut butter. Peanut butter is good for more than just a hefty dose of protein. All those mashed peanuts are also loaded with minerals, including zinc for immunity, disease fighting selenium and antioxidants to help repair workout-damaged muscles. Stick with regular PB instead of the reduced-fat sludge. When companies make lower-fat peanut butter, they take out heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and replace it with added sugar.
4. Be adventurous with beans — black beans, garbanzo beans, lentils and more. Beans are high in bone-building calcium as well as phytochemicals. Throw a handful on a lunch-time salad, stuff 'em into a pita sandwich or sink them into a vegetable soup. Try mashing a handful with lemon juice for a quick vegetable dip.
5. Use easy flavor-enhancing ingredients that are also rich in nutrition, such as roasted red peppers in a jar. Choose the seven-ounce jars (the small ones) packed in water, not oil. They're great in sandwiches, stirred into scrambled eggs or soups or added into a mass of salad greens. You can also stuff them into burgers or casseroles, or eat them right from the jar. For a quick snack, you can mash red peppers with fat-free sour cream or cream cheese for a fiery dip that's great smeared over whole-wheat crackers.
Snack/Appetizer — Salmon Mousse Dip
Party and snack time doesn't have to be synonymous with too many calories and no health benefits. This salmon mousse dip will be a favorite for you and your friends. This scrumptious snack keeps well in the refrigerator up to three days.
15 ounce can pink salmon with bone, drained and skin removed; flaked
¼ cup reduced fat mayonnaise or salad dressing
½ teaspoon ground dry mustard
¼ teaspoon cayenne
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 green onions, sliced thinly (tops and bottoms)
1 small jar (7.5 ounce) roasted red peppers, drained and chopped finely
Combine all ingredients in medium bowl. Blend well with fork. Serve with raw vegetables and/or whole wheat crackers.
Per serving (about 1/3 cup mousse per serving): 149 calories, 6 grams carbohydrate, 15 grams protein, 7 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 615 mg sodium, 1.7 grams fiber.
Main Dish — Black Bean and Artichoke Pita
Did you know that the new food guide pyramid for Americans advises indulging your health with a meatless lunch? This recipe is not only easy, but positively delicious. If you carry it to work, add the filling to the pita just before eating.
½ cup light mayonnaise or salad dressing
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Horseradish as desired
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained well
1 (15-ounce) can marinated artichoke hearts, drained well and chopped
4 green onions, sliced thinly (tops and bottoms)
4 small whole wheat pitas
Blend mayonnaise, lemon juice and horseradish in large bowl. Stir in black beans, artichoke hearts and green onions. Cut ½ inch from the top of each whole wheat pita and fill each with ¼ of mixture.
Per serving: 350 calories, 56 grams carbohydrate, 19 grams protein, 9 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 520 mg sodium, 16 grams fiber.
Dessert — Peanut Butter-Chocolate Shake
Serves 4 for dessert or 2 for breakfast
You'll think you're indulging in a chocolate-peanut butter cup instead of this protein and calcium-rich health-enhancing drink. Never tried tofu? Don't hesitate, as it has no taste — it simply picks up the taste of what it's combined with. In this case, how can you go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter!
2 cups reduced fat, vitamin-enriched chocolate soymilk or reduced fat chocolate milk
¼ cup smooth peanut butter
6 ounces extra-firm light tofu or ⅔ cup fat-free vanilla yogurt
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor; blend until smooth. If you prefer a frostier smoothie, add ½ to 1 cup ice cubes before blending/processing.
Per serving (serving 4 for dessert): 212 calories, 22 grams carbohydrate, 10 grams protein, 10 grams fat, 2 gram saturated fat, 194 mg sodium, 1.5 grams fiber.
Per serving (serving 2 for breakfast or lunch): 424 calories, 44 grams carbohydrate, 24 grams protein, 20 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 388 mg sodium, 3 grams fiber.