This week for “Fitness Friday” I enlisted the help of an expert! Yoplait Light’s Swap Coach, Christina Meyer-Jax. She is a registered dietitian and Nutrition Communicator at the General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition.
I asked her to help me compile a list of the “Top Foods You Should Eat At Least Once A Week.” She offered 13 delicious suggestions as well as ideas on how to incorporate them into your diet. Then I added recipes and photos using the foods she suggested. Check it out!
#1) Yogurt: Just 1 cup of most yogurts provides a good source of the daily value of calcium and has phosphorus, potassium, zinc, riboflavin, vitamin B12 and protein.
Usage Idea: Yogurt can be eaten at any time of the day- breakfast, snack or dessert. Yoplait Light offers more than 30 delicious fat free flavors, all around 100 calories, and is an excellent source of both calcium and vitamin D.
#2) Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds contain omega 3s, which are essential polyunsaturated fats that are typically low in the average American diet. This small seed is also a great way to add in some fiber to your meals and snacks.
Usage Idea: Sprinkle seeds or ground flaxseed on your cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, salad, or sandwiches. They’re so small, you won’t even notice them!
#3) Pumpkin Seeds: Pumpkin seeds contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant nutrients.
Usage Idea: Bake a tray of pumpkin seeds after a carving a pumpkin with the family, it’s fun and healthy finger food to have around the house.
#4) Quinoa: Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete plant based protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids.
Usage Idea: For a twist on your favorite pasta recipe, use noodles made from quinoa.
#5) Berries: All berries are sources of fiber, a nutrient that many Americans are lacking in their diets and one that is important for the digestive system.
Usage Idea: Add a few berries to your oatmeal in the morning for a well-rounded, fruity breakfast.
#6) Eggs: Eggs are a source of high-quality protein that can help to keep you feeling fuller, longer. Egg yolks contain lutein and zeaxanthin—two antioxidants that can help keep eyes healthy.
Usage Idea: Pair scrambled eggs with a little bit of salsa and a corn tortilla for a quick and easy breakfast taco.
#7) Beans: Beans can be a good plant-based source of iron, a mineral that transports oxygen from your lungs to the cells in your body.
Usage Idea: Throw some white beans into a sauté with squash, zucchini, fresh tomatoes and pair with brown rice.
#8) Nuts: Nuts provide beneficial unsaturated fats.
Usage Idea: Toss a handful of toasted almonds into a salad to add a tasty, filling crunch.
#9) Oranges: An excellent source of vitamin C, just one large orange (or a cup of OJ) contains a full day’s worth of the average Daily Value recommendations.
Usage Idea: Start your day off right with a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice.
#10) Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes contain alpha and beta carotene. The body converts these compounds into the active form of vitamin A, which helps with your eyes and bones.
Usage Idea: Swap French fries for baked pieces of sweet potato for a great side dish to any meal.
#11) Broccoli: This fantastic vegetable has vitamins C, A and K (which helps with bone health) folate and fiber.
Usage Idea: Include broccoli in an omelet or on a pizza for some crunch and nutrients.
#12) Tea: Many varieties of tea are rich in antioxidants called flavonoids. They may help reduce the risk of some conditions, plus help maintain healthier teeth and gums and stronger bones.
Usage Idea: Keep a batch of cold tea in your refrigerator, add a little lemon, lime or orange juice to add flavor.
#13) Spinach: Spinach has important nutrients including vitamins A, C and K—as well as fiber, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium and vitamin E.
Usage Idea: Sautee spinach with a few cloves of garlic and serve as a flavor-filled compliment to a meal.
I hope Christine’s ideas have inspired you to make a few healthy swaps in your meal planning this week. Incorporating these foods into your diet is not only easy, it’s absolutely delicious!