Monday, June 4, 2012

Assessing the quality of your diet

Jennifer Koslo, PhD, RD, CSSD, CPT
FT Faculty: Health & Wellness & Nutrition Dept

Summer is almost here! Time to trade in the sweats and long pants for shorts and summer dresses. Reading this may send some of you into a panic as you  wonder if you are ready to shed those layers. For many people the instinct is to jump on to some quick fix drastic diet that eliminates food groups or has you eating nothing but ho-ho’s for a week. Instead of doing that, think about taking a more reasonable approach to assessing your diet. Small, targeted changes that are sustainable can add up to big results in terms of long term health and weight management.
Nutrient Density. Do you know what this term means and if you do are your actively apply the principle? A nutrient dense diet is something akin to choosing high octane fuel for your car over the regular unleaded. Octane is a measure of anti-knock properties, i.e. performance and the higher the octane generally the higher the performance. The same goes with your diet: fuel up with nutrient dense choices and power your body through a long day of work with energy left over to go to the gym while at the same time decreasing your risk for a host of chronic diseases.
Make a commitment to add an extra serving of fruit and/or vegetable to each meal and snack:
·         Eat the skins of your potatoes and leave them on when making mashed potatoes.
·         Substitute spaghetti squash for pasta and top with your favorite sauce and diced vegetables.
·         Choose whole fruits over juice the majority of the time.
·         Buy whole carrots and eat the skin instead of buying baby carrots.
·         Add dried apricots to your whole wheat couscous.
·         Grill fruits like peaches and pears along with your vegetables.
·         Add fruit to your salad – dried cranberries, fresh raspberries and mandarin oranges work well.
·         Add spinach and peppers to your omelet.
·         How about adding fruit to plain yogurt instead of buying the fruit yogurt?
·         Snack on hummus and veggies.
·         Make green smoothies for breakfast or snacks by adding a handful of kale or spinach to some yogurt or protein powder. Throw in a few dried dates to make it thick.
·         Start your lunch and dinners with broth based low-sodium vegetable soup or try it as a snack.
·         Add a layer of vegetables to your lasagna.
·         Make a puree base of vegetables, fruits or beans and add to just about everything. The Sneaky Chef has some great free recipes
You can also make some targeted changes when it comes to upping the quality of your protein intake:
·         Substitute a starch like a potato for a serving of beans.
·         Ever try beans for breakfast? In many cultures this is the norm.
·         Trade in the dark meat for white meat.
·         Grill and broil your meats instead of frying them and use olive oil instead of butter.
·         Include fatty fish twice a week.
·         Include a vegetarian protein based meal once or twice a week.
Then there are the grains. Aim to make most of your choices whole and unprocessed:
·         Choose whole grains for everything: pasta, couscous, rice, barley, pastry and regular baking flour, hot and cold breakfast cereals. You may have to look a bit harder but whole grain versions do exist!
·         Mix up your grains and try quinoa, millet, amaranth and bulgur. They can all be substituted in place of rice.
As we embark on another summer, make a commitment to up the quality of your diet. If you have a tip to share I would love to hear it.


Post a Comment

About Me

Kaplan Center for Health and Wellness
View my complete profile