Magazines and news stories are brimming with tips promising this and that: top foods for being happy, top foods for reducing cholesterol, top foods for slowing aging, top foods for mental agility, top foods to lose weight. The list goes on and on…..
As I read these kinds of articles (with my scientific and cynical brain switched on) I usually start to think of what top foods I would include in any of those health lists. One food kept repeating, a food that was included in every one of the lists (and many others).
Can you guess what food what number 1 food for happiness is? Colourful fruits and veggies!
So here is my list of foods to include in your diet for improving ANYTHING really:
1. Colourful fruits and veggies
We at Foost often say -Just add some colour. Think about what meal you often make and add some colourful fruit or vegetable to it. Try to eat a traffic light a day (some green, orange/yellow and red fruit or vegetables). Aim for around 2 pieces of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables). But any extra fruit and vegetable is a with.
Think of a colourful snack you could add to your day. Remember fruit and veggies make great snacks too! Next time you feel peckish remember to check out the fruit bowl but also the vegetable draw. Some of our favourites: cucumber, carrot, cherry tomatoes and corn on the cob.
Swap white breads and crackers to brown and grainy types.
We also love oats – a fantastic and super versatile wholegrain. Oats are great as porridge, an addition in baking and as a snack or dessert (sprinkled on fruit and yoghurt with nuts and coconut). Just as importantly, they are also one of the cheapest ingredients around!
With bread, crackers and rolls – choose those where you can actually see the grains (That’s the key to healthy options). If you or your children are still learning to like wholegrains, then try making a zebra sandwich with one white and one wholegrain slice of bread.
Some other great ‘swaps’ include using half wholemeal flour (instead of just white). For meals with rice try using brown or basmati/ Dongara varieties (lower GI options).
There are many ways in which you can add some fish into your diet. You can bake it; fry it; add it to curries and pasta; make patties and soup with it (amongst many other options). What we absolutely love about it is you can buy it fresh OR frozen OR canned- in fact we do all three at different times of the year.
Fish is super versatile- so if you need more in your meals – try ordering it next time you go out for dinner or cooking it (at a start once a fortnight. Slowly you might find increasing to twice a week isn’t hard).
4. Vegetarian meals with eggs and legumes
Eating come vegetarian meals is not only great for our health, but also has the amazing benefit of helping our environment. Try to have a vegetarian meal (based around eggs or legumes) at least once or twice a week. Legumes include peas and beans (baked beans, red kidney beans, lentils, four bean mix etc- dried and canned- doesn’t include the green beans). What is also amazing about having vegetarian meals aside from having more vegetables in your day is that it’s a great way to reduce food costs (legumes in particular are super cheap). Give these tofu burgers a try and check out our vegetarian recipes.
5. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are bursting with goodness and are great for snacking on; sprinkling on porridge; adding to smoothies; and adding to baking. Just remember you might need to leave them out if you are packing lunchboxes for some schools.