Variety in what you eat is the best way to ensure you are getting adequate nutrients from your food. You always need to have variety in vegetables and fruit. But you also need to have variety in grains and protein and most people don’t do this.
To have variety in grains – take a break from all that pasta and try quinoa, millet, buckwheat, oats and brown rice. For those who have not eaten quinoa before – you can just use this in the same way you’d use rice or cous cous. Variety in protein might mean having lean turkey or seafood/oysters for a change! Or having a meal of plant protein using tofu, tempeh or legumes.
2. EAT A RAINBOW EACH DAY
I love to tell patients to try to eat a rainbow every day. This means eating red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and white foods every day! All these different colours mean the food contains different vitamins, mineral and antioxidants. Of course eat fruit and veg that are in season.
Here are some ideas for you to follow this tip:
RED – tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, red lentils, rhubarb, watermelon, red onion, red currants
ORANGE – carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, oranges, apricots, mangoes, peaches, nectarines, rockmelon
YELLOW – corn cobs, bananas, lemons, grapefruit, pineapple, turmeric
GREEN – broccoli, cabbage, kiwi fruit, avocado, limes, basil, coriander, parsley, green lentils, artichokes, asparagus, green apples
BLUE/PURPLE – blueberries, plums, eggplant, cherries, beetroot, purple cabbage, prunes, blackberries, black currants
WHITE – garlic, cauliflower, white onions, potato
There are plenty more! But start shopping, choosing your food on the basis of its colour!
3. EAT AS THOUGH YOUR FOOD HAS COME STRAIGHT FROM THE FARM
Another tip for you is to eat food that could have come straight from the farm. So the idea here is to think – could this food have come straight from the farm? If the answer is yes, the food is probably a good choice. If the food is in a very different form to the way it is found originally (ie processed) then it probably isn’t a good choice!
Wherever possible it is best to eat food that is certified organic. The main reason is then you can be assured there are no added chemicals, pesticides etc. These chemicals overload our liver, lead to endocrine (hormonal) disruption and general ill-health. It is possible the food is also higher in nutrients – one reason for this is that the soil on organic farms would be higher in the good nutrients. If you can’t always find (or afford!) organic food, try to get food that is at least grown in Australia.
5. READ LABELS
Don’t be deceived by marketing and advertising! Some food packaging will state it’s ‘natural’, ‘gluten-free’, ‘fat-free’ etc. I am always wary when I see this. You must read the ingredients label to see what is in the food (and make sure it sounds like real food!!). The more the food ingredients sound like real food, the better.