by Nancy B. Emerson Lombardo, Ph.D.    © 2013 Nancy B. Emerson Lombardo and Brain Health and Wellness Center®   

One way to start eating healthier is by planning ahead and keeping healthy snacks at the office, or in your car, so you are snacking on healthy foods instead of sugary drinks and sugar laden foods that increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cognitive problems, and increase inflammation in your joints and throughout your body.

 

Remember you don’t have to give up your favourite foods – just eat less if a food is not good for you, and a LOT less if they are sugary, white rice, flour or starchy, loaded with transfats, or too much salt. And find which of the healthy foods you like best and eat more of them.

Variety is important so we urge you to keep trying new foods that are on the heart and brain healthy list. (Some examples are contained in my recipes on the website). Remember there are 100s of “super foods” for the brain and body, so you are sure to discover plenty that you find delicious.

“There can be a misperception that eating healthfully means giving up your favorite foods,” said registered dietician and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics President Ethan A. Bergman. “The ‘Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day’ 40th Anniversary National Nutrition Month theme (for March, 2013) encourages consumers to include the foods they love as part of a healthful eating plan that is tailored for their lifestyles, traditions, health needs and, of course, tastes.” See www.eatright.org

Dr. Nancy suggests this simple key: learn

  • which of your current favourite foods are unhealthy and eat less (or much less!) and
  • which are healthy and eat more of them.

In addition, one can begin adopting one by one additional DELICIOUS healthy foods. Springtime is a good time to experiment. One great source just might be traditional ethnic foods fixed traditional ways with wholesome ingredients, from our own family traditions, or borrowed from others.

Brain Healthy Snacks at Work or School

At the Office – Or in your lunch bag in the car if you are on the go…

  • Nuts, seeds or trail mix, ideally in single serve packs
  • Fruit
  •  Avocadoes*
  • Peanut butter
  • Whole grain crackersAvacodo
  • Low sodium soup
  • Canned sardines, wild salmon or tuna

 

* Store whole avocadoes along with a dinner knife and spoon, and maybe a little sea salt. No refrigeration please! When avocado is ripe (slightly soft when touched) cut in 1/2 the long way with the knife. Then separate the two halves, leaving the seed in one half. After adding just a hint of sea salt on the top, scoop out spoonfuls from the other half…i.e. you eat it right out of the shell. What could be easier! The other half will keep another day to eat later…or if really hungry, eat up that one too.

 

 

If you have access to a refrigerator or use a ice pack in your lunch bag, add these to your list:

Vegetables cut up “to go” Vegetables to go

  • Jicama (a crisp and slightly sweet root vegetable) peeled, sliced and served on a salad with lime vinaigrette or chopped for a crunchy addition to salsas; or, cucumbers, including Armenian for extra crunch!
  • Gazpacho (a cold tomato-based raw vegetable soup) made with spinach or cucumbers.
  • Greek yogurt
  • Stuffed grape leaves (yummy!)
  • Olives
  • Tabouleh
  • Hummus
  • Guacamole – you can buy prepared at Trader Joe’s or elsewhere, fresh or frozen.
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Low fat cheeses such as mozzarella, provolone or goat cheeses
  • Snack ready veggies such as baby carrots, sugar snap peas, miniature sweet peppers,…or if you have time to cut them up, celery sticks, cucumber or pepper slices

 

Healthy Drinks:

  • WaterCoconut Water T...te Nirvana
  • 100% fruit juice especially dark colored ones
  • Coconut water (instead of sugary sports drinks…does  a better job of balancing electrolytes)
  • If access to a blender: green smoothies, adding in leafy greens, avocados, nuts, seeds(especially flax, chia, hemp) or any combination to the usual fruits.

Dark Chocolate Relating to Mood

Sweets:

  •  Dark chocolate, at least 60-70% of more cocoa solids- many delicious brands out there; do your own taste test and find your favourite. (Check my February e-newsletter for some of my favourites, and more about chocolate’s fascinating history)
  • Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate covered almonds
  • Healthy snack bars such as Budibars™     budibar
  • Cookies and desserts made with brain healthy ingredients and recipes (check out my website, brainwellness.com)
  • This one can be used for breakfast, dessert or as a snack:

Yogurt Parfaits Greek yogurt parfait made with berries or cut up fruit, cinnamon, a dash of coconut sugar or Truvia, a tablespoon or more of hemp heart seeds (or chopped nuts, chia seeds).

 

 

 

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