Our weekly coffee chat has a new look! In my effort to be purposeful about everything I do, and write about, my goal is to incorporate a theme into these posts.
I still have a cup of coffee nearby…that hasn’t changed…but the focus will be on topics of interest to us as women in midlife, highlighting one each week. And we’re interested in so many things, including healthy eating, remaining strong and fit, caring for our skin, looking good, and so much more.
This week we’re talking about three simple tips for healthier eating. I don’t know about you, but I am always on the lookout for ways to enjoy flavorful meals and snacks while staying true to a clean eating plan. Well, most of the time anyway. I fell off the wagon the other day and enjoyed a big, fluffy cranberry orange muffin at a local coffee shop. It was awesome. 🙂
Tip #1: Four Full Fat Foods That Are Good For You
If you’re still searching for the ‘low fat’ version of selections in the grocery aisle, you might want to reconsider that philosophy. Our friends at EatingWell.com have this to say about low fat vs full fat:
“Recent research raises new questions about fat and its role in health, particularly when it comes to saturated fat. It’s hard to know what to believe.
It’s true that fat—at 9 calories per gram—has more calories per gram than proteins or carbs (which each have just 4 calories per gram). And trans fats, mostly found in hydrogenated oils, are still considered harmful to our health.
Foods can certainly be healthy without a low-fat label, and it’s OK to embrace that fact. Fat adds flavor to foods and helps keep you full, because it takes a long time to digest.
Many fats are good for you, like the heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in nuts, seeds, olives and avocados. Plus, sometimes the good kind of fat that’s naturally occurring in foods is replaced with unhealthy fillers when you go for the low-fat versions.”
The four foods to feel good about eating full fat are:
1.SALAD DRESSING – typically contains vegetable oils, the ‘good fats’ that help lower levels of the ‘bad’ fat LDL cholsterol. Choose bottled dressings made with olive and canola oils.
Here’s a delicious Honey-Mustard Viniagrette dressing that is so simple, why buy bottled:
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or canola oil
- freshly ground pepper to taste
Whisk garlic, vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in oil. Full recipe here
2. DAIRY – interestingly, a recent review of 16 studies looking at the link between obesity and a full fat vs low fat diet found that in more than half the studies, eating full fat dairy was actually associated with lower body weight.
You still need to consider the calories in full fat as you look at overall food/calorie intake, but it is definitely a different perspective on dairy products.
3. PEANUT BUTTER – Peanuts have healthy monounsaturated fats that help to lower heart disease risk. Most reduced fat spreads don’t offer much in the way of calorie savings, and when the peanuts are partially defatted to create the reduced fat peanut butter, the missing fat is replaced with added sugar and starches. Who wants that? Not me.
Look for natural peanut butter, with just peanuts and perhaps a bit of salt.
4. EGGS – you don’t have to toss the yolk to feel good about eating eggs. In fact, by not consuming the yolk you lose about 3 grams of protein. And, there are healthy nutrients like calcium and eye-protecting lutein and zeaxanthin found within the yolk..
Researchers are now concluding that eating a whole egg every day is a good thing.
For me, eggs for breakfast with some additional veggies and protein mixed in make a filling and nutritious meal.
Tip #2: Choose Foods Based on Important Nutrients
As women over 50, our bodies have unique needs. They will function better, and we’ll certainly feel better, when we consume vitamin and mineral-right foods. Here are some good choices for us as we age:
- Vitamin B12—2.4 micrograms/day. Foods high in B12 include fish, shellfish, lean red meat, dairy, cheese, and eggs.
- Folate/Folic acid—400 micrograms/day. Foods high in folate include dark leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, citrus fruits, beans, seeds, and nuts.
- Calcium—1,200 mg/day. Foods high in calcium include low-fat milk, kale, sardines, broccoli, yogurt, and cheese.
- Vitamin D—800-2,000 IU/day depending on sun exposure and health conditions. Sources of high Vitamin D include fish, shellfish, milk, orange juice, and the sun. 🙂
- Potassium—4,700 mg/day. Foods high in potassium include avocado, spinach, sweet potato, yogurt, coconut water, and white beans.
- Magnesium—400 mg/day. Foods high in magnesium include dark leafy greens, seeds and nuts, fish, beans and lentils, and brown rice.
- Fiber—30 grams for men and 21 grams for women. Great sources of fiber include avocados, raspberries, blackberries, artichokes, peas, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds.
- Omega-3 Fats—500 mg/day. Foods high in Omega-3 fats are flaxseed oil, fish and fish oils, nuts, shellfish, soybeans, and spinach.
Pssst…want to do something about that belly fat? I’ve got a plan…
Tip #3: Always, Always Drink Water
I know. You hear this all the time, and for good reason. Water is essential for your health, it aids in proper digestion and elimination, and if you’re trying to lose weight it can help you feel fuller.
The general recommendation is the 8/8 guideline: eight 8-ounce cups of water every day. Keep in mind that recommendation increases with exercise, body composition and climate.
Fruits and vegetables provide fluid to our diet as do clear soups and broths. Melons and citrus fruits have a very high water content, so are healthy contributors to our need for hydration.
It’s so simple, but how many of us actually consume the recommended amount of water each and every day? I’m about 75% there. More often than not I meet my daily quota of water, but I could do better. How about you?
Maintaining our health along with a reasonable weight can become a challenge as we age. Finding the balance between enjoying our food and being confident that we’re eating a healthy diet is possible!