How To Get More Whole (and Nourishing) Foods Into Your Diet

by Michelle on February 16, 2010 · 11 comments

in Information

Last time I talked about the importance of eating whole foods (and why we should avoid refined foods). I also talked about which foods we should generally try to include in our diet (whole foods) and which are better to avoid (refined foods and processed foods).

This week I’m going to let you in on some secrets of how to get more whole foods in your diet and how to make it easier (and maybe a bit budget friendly) to do so.  So how can we get more of these nutritious foods into our diets? Here are some ways to Get More Whole (and Nourishing) Foods Into Our Diets!

  • Try Alternative Grains- There are many types of grains out there, rather than just wheat, rice and corn. Try adding other “grains” into your diet such as Quinoa (a pseudo-grain), Amaranth, (a psuedo-grain), Buckwheat, Spelt, Kamut, Wild Rice & Millet.
  • Freeze Extra Meals- If you do a bit of home-cooking, try to freeze extra left overs (if you can) and then when you need to eat it just defrost and warm up!
  • Use Unrefined Sugars- Sugar doesn’t always have to be completely removed from your diet. Try using Whole Cane Rapadura Sugar, Maple Syrup, Mollasses or other unrefined sugars instread of refined white sugar.
  • Buy 100% Whole Grain Products- There are a lot of great whole grain and sprouted grain products that are actually good for you. See whats available in your area (and try to get ones with out additvies and preservaties when you can). (If you’re an Aussie have a look at my Food & Health Resource Page for suppliers).
  • Variety Is Key- We need a whole range of nutrients, so its best to vary your diet with different fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, grains and other healthy foods.  This also helps to make your diet interesting and delicious!
  • Use Whole Grains In Baking- Swap white flours for whole grain and “brown” flours in your baking and you will be adding a whole lot more nutrients to your baked goods.
  • Try Fermented Vegetables- Culturing and Fermenting your own vegetables is easy and a great way to get beneficial bacteria into your diet and the fermented vegies last for months!
  • Make Fresh Berry Sauces- Making a simple sauce with berries, coconut oil and honey can make a great little dip for slices of fruit or to put on top of organic yoghurt.
  • Swap Meat for Legumes- Not every meal needs to contain an animal product or meat, try swapping  a few meat dishes in your diet with and add in vegetables, legumes, sprouts, beans & pulses to replace it.
  • Treat Yourself- Make your own healthy and delicious treats! Check out Ani’s Raw Food Desserts: 85 Easy, Delectable Sweets and Treats for inspiration on some healthy treats!
  • Have Oats (or another grain) for Breakfast- Have oats instead of a processed cereal such as corn flakes. Oats will help sustain your energy levels and keep you feeling fuller for longer. Soak your oats the night before, which helps to reduce cooking time and the anti-nutrients in the oats (which means better absorption of nutrients, quicker cooking time and creamier oats!).
  • Make Homemade Custard- Custard is really easy to make and is a real comfort food. It is a great way to get more protein in your diet (from the egg yolks) and you can use dairy or alternative milks and add a splash of cinnamon if you desire.
  • Make Bean Dips, Bean Burgers and add Beans to Salads- Beans add phytochemicals, protein, flavour and texture to meals (and they’re generally really cheap!) Try making a bean dip such as Hummus or make some burger patties with black beans! Beans are also a great addition to a salad.
  • Freeze Egg Whites- Sometimes recipes only call for an egg yolk rather than the whole egg. Worried about wasting the white? Never fear! Just freeze the egg yolk in an ice cube tray and then in an airtight zip lock bag in the freezer till needed later. Just leave out to defrost when needed.
  • Have Whole Fruit Jam Instead of White Sugar-Laden Jam- Make or buy your own whole fruit jams, which contain more health-giving properties of the whole fruit. Try my Elderberry & Blueberry Jam or Whole Lemon & Strawberry Jam Recipes!
  • Frozen Fruits- Snack on frozen fruits such as blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. They contain less sugar than lollies but are full of essential nutrients!
  • Pesto- You can easily and quickly made a nutritious pesto with greens such as parsley, basil and spinach! Blend with some nice extra virgin olive oil (or maybe add some whole pitted olives aswell) and some almonds/pinenuts and blend till smooth (for a pasta) or use a bit less oil for a nice dip! This is great on whole grain crackers.
  • Green Smoothies- Now don’t be afraid, these aren’t as bad  as you may think! These are smoothies which contain usually some form of a green leafy vegetable which is blended with water  (or yoghurt), fruit and sometimes nuts and seeds. This is a great way to get a whole lot of greens in your diet. If it tastes too “green” just add more fruit! And if you don’t don’t like the green colour adding a handful of blueberries (or another any other bright fruit) will change the colour from green to a bright coloured smoothie! These smoothies contain the WHOLE of the greens (something that is lacking in our modern diets- not enough greens) and this is a quick and easy way to get more greens in your diet!
  • Use Whole Grains Instead- Replace white rice with brown rice or an alternative grain such as quinoa (which is a actually a pseduo-grain)!  To hide the fact that these grains are “brown” add some tumeric powder when cooking and it will look like saffron rice (and will add extra nutritional properties of the tumeric).
  • Make Intresting Salads- Salads can be boring at times- but if you put different seeds, nuts, veges , sprouts and meats in you can have a different salad every time! Get creative and enjoy your salads!
  • Dips & Pâté- Dips & Pâté are a great way to get lots of seeds, nuts and beans into your diet without sacrificing on taste. Just soak and blend your seeds, nuts or beans and flavour with different herbs, spices or garlic!
  • Buy Or Make Sprouted Grains, Seeds & Beans-  These sprouts all can be great when added to salad for crunch! Sprouted Grains- also can be added to soups or eaten as a snack.
  • Buy In Season- Fruits and vegetables and usually much cheaper when they are bought in the season that they were produced. This makes for a better budget, so stock up and enjoy which ever fruits or vegies you can get now (and buy some to freeze for later when it’s not available as readily).
  • Make Bone Broths- Bone broths are not only nutritious but they are also pretty cheap to make! You can use them to make a stock or add lots of herbs and some thinly sliced vegetables such as carrot and sliced kale and some almonds and you have a nice light soup!
  • If You Can Buy Organic Meat- Please do. It is better for the animals, better for the enviroment and better for you! Organic meats usually are chemical free (antibiotics, pesticides, fungicides etc) so they are better than commercially farmed meat!
  • Make Your Own Healthy & Delicious Cool Drinks- Its easy to make your own nutritious sweet drinks- just use 1 part juice 1 part water. Or for a fizzy ice tea use freshly made and cooled herbal tea, raw honey/rapadura and add carbonated or spring water. This also makes for a drink that is cheaper as alot of it is mostly fizzy or spring water! See my Lavendar Cordial, Sweet Syrup & Ice Tea Recipes. You can also use Water Kefir Grains to make a carbonated beverage.
  • Add Flax- Flax seed and oil can be added easily to many meals. Add the seed freshly ground to porridge or top on pancakes. The oil can be used in salad dressings or added to smoothies! Note: Flax can not be used to cook with as it contains volatile oils which are susceptible to oxidation if heated.
  • Freeze Juice in Ice Trays- Freezing fresh juices and whole fruits in water in ice trays can both look pretty and can help to add something nutritious and cooling to your water or juices.
  • Use Full Cream/Fat Dairy- In our diets we need fat-soluble vitmains. But to get those we need to have fat in our diets. One way of getting these fats is to eat and drink full cream/fat dairy products.
  • Make your own Icey Poles or Ice Cream- It’s easy to make your own frozen treats. To make your own Ice Poles just freeze fresh juice in a cup with an icey pole stick or mix in some yoghurt to make it more creamy. Try making your own ice cream out of soft fruits like mango, banana and avocado. Here’s my Chocolate Avocado Ice Cream Recipe.
  • Use Alternative Milks- Sometimes we may not be able to have dairy in our diets. You can create milk substitutes by blending water and almonds, brazil nuts or another seed or nut that your heart desires.
  • Use Herbs & Spices- Herbs and spices have numerous uses for an endless amount of dishes. Think herb teas, casseroles, sweet treats, salad dressings. Their uses are endless!
  • Balance is most important- I have to mention Balance. Because sometimes we can’t always get whole foods into our diet. And that is OKAY. If most of the time we eat well then it is okay to sometimes have a few naughty foods. Life is all about balance.

These are just some of the ways I’ve found that help me get more whole foods in my diet. Have you any ideas to get more whole & nourishing foods into your diet that you’d like to share? Please comment and tell us your thoughts!

I added this post to Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays & Cheeseslave’s Real Food Wednesdays .

Michelle

Health Food Lover is Michelle Robson-Garth. A student-naturopath-in-training, writer, recipe-creator and all-round foodie from Melbourne, Australia. © Copyright: 2009-2012 Michelle Robson-Garth. Please ask permission first when using any text or images on healthfoodlover.com. Read the disclaimer here. Have a look at the recipe index for more health food lovin’ recipes. Join the Facebook page & follow Health Food Lover on twitter.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Wendy (The Local Cook) February 18, 2010 at 10:03 am

I try to base most of my diet on things I get from my vegetable CSA and herdshare (where I get my raw milk and eggs and meat). By focusing on nutritious food, over the past year or so I have kind of “forgotten” about the ones that are processed. It always surprises me when people talk about craving chips, for example.

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Michelle (Health Food Lover) February 18, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Oh thats excellent that you do that Wendy! It’s funny how when you do have more nutritious and healthy foods you do forget the processed ones, as you said! I know for myself that is certainly the case! And if they are offered I generally don’t want them anyway because I know the value of real food! Thanks for commenting.

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happy July 13, 2010 at 8:08 am

I have been reading some of the articles on your website this morning and
I have to say that I am really enjoying them. There is a lot of good
information here esp. food and health. I will be coming back soon for some
more reading.

Thanks, Michelle

Reply

Michelle July 13, 2010 at 8:51 am

Oh I appreciate that, Happy! I’ll be posting more articles soon. Let me know if you have any requests for any articles. Thanks for stopping by.

Michelle.

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