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Simple options make healthy fun

Posted on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Stay positive with nutrition opportunities

Staff photos by John Coffelt --Substituting fresh produce and whole grain bread offers flavor and nutrition to otherwise dull dishes.

A monthly nutrition morsel from the Coffee County Farm Bureau Women, promoting agriculture, increase agricultural literacy, contribute to priority issues, and participate in leadership development opportunities.

Think about what you can eat–not what you can’t eat.
There is hardly a day that goes by without reports of some food that’s been found to be bad for you. One day it’s processed meats – the next, baked goods made with trans-fatty acids.

Faced with so many don’ts you might start to wander whether any food is okay to eat.

In fact, research from Tufts University says there is a whole cornucopia of healthy foods to choose from. Many food choices are delicious as well as actually giving your body a boost.
The following list of foods is merely a sampling of 25 various food choices that are nutritious. Also look at the benefits each food gives:

• Acorn Squash is rich in potassium, Vitamins A and C, lycopene and folate.

• Almonds-have potassium, riboflavin, magnesium, zinc and is low in saturated fats and high in unsaturated fats.

• Apples have great fiber, low in calories and antioxidants are in the skin so don’t peel before eating.

• Asparagus is a great source of Vitamins A and C with only 25 calories in 8 medium sized spears.

• Barley gives a good source of iron and minerals as well as helps protect against heart disease and


• Beef, in moderation is a good source of zinc, Vitamin B6 and almost half of your daily protein needs. The eye of round is the leanest cut. And a three-ounce serving has only 160 calories.

• Blueberries. Berries of all kinds are good choices. In ½ cup of blueberries, you get ¼ of your daily Vitamin C needs. Tufts researchers are studying blueberries for their antioxidant benefits, lower cholesterol levels, and it may help in preventing osteoporosis and hardening of the arteries.

• Broccoli is high in Vitamin A and is dark green like spinach and kale. Most of us need to double or triple our intake of leafy, green vegetables.

• Cantaloupe is a great source of beta-carotene and high in Vitamin C.

• Cauliflower packs a nutritional punch with 45 percent of the daily requirement of Vitamin C in just ½ cup. This vegetable is a cruciferous vegetable like broccoli and Brussels sprouts that may have possible cancer protectors, according to Tufts University.

• Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are a good way to get in needed protein without a lot of fat or calories. Broil, bake or grill to keep chicken a smart choice.

• Cranberry Juice-This is loaded with Vitamin C and it helps ward off urinary-tract infections and it may prevent peritonitis and gingivitis by keeping bacteria from sticking to the teeth and gums.

• Kale is a Vitamin A powerhouse plus a source for lutein. A ½-cup serving gives you almost 7 times the recommended daily amount of Vitamin K.

• Kidney Beans-beans of all types can be a key ingredient in an occasional meatless meal. They are a great source of potassium, magnesium and folate. Kidney Beans give you the most protein and fiber with the fewest calories.

• Mackerel contains heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids plus Selenium and Vitamin D.

• Milk – three cups of dairy products are recommended daily.In addition to the calcium, fortified milk is the best way to get Vitamin D, which helps to prevent osteoporosis.

• Oranges-one navel orange provides a daily dose of Vitamin C and provides potassium.

• Peanut Butter – most of the fat in peanut butter remains monounsaturated, a good choice for a meat substitute that might be high in saturated fats. Two tablespoons give you eight grams of protein and 25 percent of your daily niacin.

• Pork Loin is the leanest cut of pork. A three-once serving provides 32 percent of daily protein needs with 2.5 grams of saturated fat and 120 calories.

• Salmon is a classic example of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. It can be broiled, baked or grilled to make a main dish.

• Spinach is a dark leafy green vegetable rich in Vitamins A and K, plus folate and packed with lutein. Research has found that lutein consumption is associated with reduced risk of macular degeneration in those above age 65.

• Strawberries contain anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that improve circulation. They are good choices for folate and Vitamin C.

• Sweet potatoes have more beta-carotene than white potatoes. They are rich in Vitamin C, folate, calcium and manganese.

• Tomatoes are a good choice for lutein and lycopene. Research suggests that lycopene may protect against prostate and pancreatic cancer.

• Walnuts are low in saturated fat, free of cholesterol and high in unsaturated fats. ¼ cup contains 4 grams of protein, plus 160 calories.
When cooking with oils, you may need to substitute. Replacing butter, lard or other saturated fats with vegetable oils that contain mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can pay dividends for your heart. Remember – all fats contain 120 calories per tablespoon. Canola oil is the very lowest in saturated fats with safflower and olive close behind.