3 foods to eat more of

In the spirit of Meatless Monday and the idea that people would rather hear what they should eat, instead of constant bad news about what they shouldn’t eat, here are 3 foods you should eat more frequently.  In fact, you should eat them daily:

Vegetables: Nutritious to the max, vegetables are full of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.  And water.  Which is what makes vegetables so filling.  And if you’re trying to cut calories, filling is good.

Can you eat too many vegetables?  Certainly, if you eat so many you get bloated and uncomfortable.  But in fact, most people eat far too few vegetables.  What’s the right amount?  The new MyPlate graphic recommends half your plate be covered in vegetables or fruit.  That’s not a bad idea, assuming you eat meals based on separate piles of food.  If you have vegetables mixed into a casserole, it might be hard to envision how those vegetables would look separated out on a plate.  I dislike recommendations that turn eating into work, so let’s just say half your food volume should be vegetables, or some combination of fruit and vegetables.

Nuts are full of protein, vitamins, healthy fats, minerals and fiber.  But we typically limit nuts to snacks.  Nut butters are for sandwiches.  So get out of your nut rut.  Nuts are great on salads, and can be mixed into rice dishes and other grain casseroles.  They can even be sprinkled on pasta, and chopped nuts can be added to vegetable casseroles.  Add them to cereals, hot or cold, and to fruit salads.  Or you can stick to a handful of nuts for an afternoon snack.  Just avoid the overly salty varieties.

Olive Oil:  There’s enough research linking olive oil consumption to health to fill an entire blog.  So I won’t reinvent the wheel, except to say good olive oil should taste wonderful, not rancid or “off”.  You can use it for salad dressings, sauté or even in baking.  Fine Cooking Magazine is featuring an olive oil pumpkin bread recipe this month, just in time for pumpkin season.  This is a great way to make your baked items a bit healthier, and I find when you substitute oil for butter in recipes, you can use slightly less (ex: substitute 1/3 cup oil for 1/2 cup solid shortening).

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