By Mary Dinehart-Perry, Director of Clinical Trials
The warm weather is setting in which means it’s time to put the winter clothes away for good and maybe shed a few pounds! Food is the best medicine and defender of your health. Here are our top 5 food picks that you should eat more of – starting now.
1. Don’t deny your sweet tooth; berries make a great addition to your diet
Sometimes you need a sweet treat, but don’t want to derail your efforts with a sugary dessert. Berries are a great choice in this situation, because you can eat them alone, with a meal or in a smoothie. Whether you choose strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or raspberries you can’t go wrong. Berries are naturally low in sugar, high in fiber, and chock full of anthocyanins – polyphenols known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Eating berries can satisfy your sweet tooth, and keep you in the Zone when you pair them with a lean protein source.
2. Leafy greens add fiber to your plate and keep you full longer
You always hear that leafy greens are good for you, but before you groan and reach for a hot fudge sundae, you might be surprised to learn that leafy greens are loaded with nutrients (Vitamins A, C, K, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, and Fiber) and a great way to add volume to your meals without the added calories. In other words, they keep you full longer. Leafy greens are easy to include in omelets, salads, soups, or a side dish for any meal. They may even reduce your risk for heart disease and certain types of cancers. Satisfaction, weight loss and a reduced risk for disease; what’s not to love?
3. Get omega-3s with plenty of Salmon
Salmon is a great source of protein, plus it’s low in calories and saturated fat, while rich in omega-3 fatty acids, especially EPA and DHA. Omega-3 fatty acids are touted for their anti-inflammatory benefits and their role in brain health, reducing the risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions. Wild caught salmon contains more EPA and DHA than farm-raised salmon, so try to shop for salmon caught in cold waters. If you aren’t sure if what you see at the fish market is farm-raised or wild caught, ask the manager. Wild salmon is deeper in color than farm-raised salmon.
4. Greek yogurt helps you boost your protein without a lot of sugar
Many yogurts have become desserts in disguise due to their sugar content, while others are full of artificial sweeteners. Meanwhile, plain Greek yogurt has just 7 grams of sugar and 18 grams of protein per serving. Talk about a protein punch! Plus, it contains probiotics and 200mg of calcium to boot! Add berries to your Greek yogurt, and you have created a Zone super snack.
5. Just go nuts for your anti-oxidants
Rich in heart-healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, nuts make for a great snack on the go or a nice addition to oatmeal, yogurt or sprinkled on vegetables. Just be mindful of your portions as they are easy to over-consume and their high fat content makes them high in calories. It is best to eat just a handful as a snack or to top another food with them as a garnish than it is to graze on them all day long. Different nuts have different benefits. For instance, walnuts are high in omega-3s and Vitamin E, while almonds contain zinc and magnesium along with Vitamin E.
BONUS… Zone PastaRx
I know I only said 5, but I couldn’t talk about getting summer-ready without mentioning Zone PastaRx ̶ an essential pantry staple. It’s easy to prepare, high in protein with 15 grams per serving, and you can substitute it in place of your regular pasta or replace your other protein choices with it. Plus, it helps to curb hunger for 4-6 hours!
Incorporating more of these foods into your diet now will bring you into the Zone and help you get ready for summer in no time!