Dietitians Dish: Think of foods you can eat instead of foods you can't

By Lisa Hagan
May 14, 2013 at 12:14 a.m.

When asked about how to eat healthy, most people can list the foods that they can't have. We can't eat this, we can eat that. Eating healthy is no longer fun but a bore. Stop focusing on the foods you "can't eat," rather, focus on the foods that you "can eat."

Meal time should be tasty, healthy and fun. The grocery store is full of many healthy, good tasting foods. Go get them and add them to meals or snacks. Once healthy foods are consistently added to meals, it becomes a habit.

Surprisingly, you will find that some of the usual foods have been squeezed out to make room for the healthier ones. Keep adding new foods and expand your repertoire. There are many healthy foods to add. Try adding these ideas.

Most people do not get enough fruits and vegetables. Many people eat one serving a day. Vegetables are loaded with antioxidants essential for preventing many diet related diseases. Add a colorful vegetable to lunch and dinner meals. Try different recipes if you have difficulties with eating vegetables.

Add whole grains to each meal. At least half of our grains should come from whole grains each day. Replace white bread for whole-wheat. Instead of regular pasta, try whole-grain penne. Try different brands until you find one you like. Some whole-grain brands have a different taste and texture.

Think soluble fiber when preparing meals. Most individual do not get enough fiber in their diet to produce health benefits. Heart-healthy foods such as eggplant, okra, beans and oats are rich in soluble fiber.

Add two serving of fatty fish each week. Choose salmon, sardines or halibut. These fish are high in the Omega-3. Those with a fish allergy can try adding walnut, flaxseed, spinach, kale or Brussels sprouts to meals.

Choose healthy fats. Add olive oil, canola oil, avocados to salads. Snack on a handful of nuts a few times a week. Add walnuts, pecans, almonds or pistachios to vegetables for an extra crunch.

Eating healthy is as simple as adding an ice cold glass of water between meals. Every little change can make a difference to your health. Remember to take a different approach to meal times.

Think about what can be added to meals that are healthy and tasty. Use credible sources to help with other suggestions., the American Heart Association and the U.S. Dietary Guidelines have great suggestions.

Lisa Hagan is a registered and licensed dietitian with DeTar Health Systems. Send questions or comments to



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