Turn Not-So-Healthy Foods, Healthy!

March 5, 2019

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: We all know the benefits of eating healthy but it can be a challenge in a fast-paced world of hungry kids, tired feet and tighter bank accounts.  But with some simple tweaks to the foods already in your kitchen, you can not only add health but do to it quickly, easily and your picky-eaters won't know the difference!  Packaged pasta meals are simple, quick, loved by the family and filed with sodium, sugar and calories.  So shop for packages made with a whole grain, such as wild rice, quinoa, or whole-wheat couscous. These will fill up your family for less cries of "I'm hungry" an hour after dinner.  Add some frozen veggies and some protein such as chicken, beans or tofu and topping with almonds to bulk up the box.  And when it comes to that seasoning packet, use half of it.  That little flavor packet is where most of that excessive sodium resides, so my using half you'll get plenty of flavor, but you’ll slash the sodium. Speaking of sodium, soups are notorious for high salt. So seek out lower sodium varieties. Then bulk up your soup by adding a bag of frozen veggies, a can of low-sodium beans, such as chickpeas or kidney beans, for fiber and protein. Top it off with a ½ cup of a whole grain, such as brown rice and you've turned a boring one-day can of soup into a vibrant meal you could stretch over two days.  Sandwiches can also boosted for health. Start with whole-grain bread, which will keep you fuller longer.  Instead of extra meat, opt for extra veggies, which don't have to be lettuce and tomato. Cucumbers, sliced peppers, shredded carrots, and spinach all work just as well between slices of bread. Upgrade your condiments too.  Mayo tastes good but it adds calories, fat and contains little nutrition. On the other hand, mashed avocado or hummus both add flavor and texture along with nutrients such as fiber and potassium. Finally the frozen dinner. The Sultan of Sodium, which can provide all of your recommended salt for the day in just one meal (plus hidden calories and fat too)!  Look for meals that have between 300 to 500 calories, less than 4 grams of saturated fat and 600 mg of sodium, while containing 5 or more grams of fiber and 10 to 20 grams of protein.

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SOURCE: Consumer Reports

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