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  • Kellie Blake RDN, LD, IFNCP

7 Simple Food Hacks from Registered Dietitians

We're heading into 2020 and many of us want to work on becoming more healthy. But, life is hectic and trying to make dramatic nutrition-related changes can seem intimidating, not to mention confusing! The nutrition-related messages we're bombarded with every day are conflicting and can really make you want to pull your hair out! We've been told to eat red meat, but then don't eat red meat. Carbs are bad, but then eat mostly carbs. Fat is bad for us, but we should eat more fat. Food-related changes don't have to be complicated and just being consistent with some simple strategies can be powerful to improve nutrient-intake, as well as overall health. Try adding these 7 simple food hacks from registered dietitians to help improve your health without a lot of fuss!

1. Vegetables are our lifeline to longevity! To sneak more vegetables into your daily routine:

-Eat vegetables for breakfast! I often heat leftover vegetables from last night's dinner for breakfast. It's a great way to get a jump start on my vegetable servings for the day but also prevents food waste and keeps those leftovers from dying a slow death in the refrigerator! I also eat salad for breakfast sometimes too!

-Drink a green smoothie for breakfast! You can literally add just about anything to green smoothies, here are some of my favorite green smoothie recipes.

-Puree leftover vegetables to be used in sauces and soups for even more nutrient power and to prevent food waste says holistic registered dietitian Lora Jody of Advanced Nutrition Therapy, LLC.

-Noaa Bujanover recommends using produce that's about to go bad to make frozen treats, vegetable broths and herb butters.

2. Make the most of your time in the kitchen:

-Make starches and other grains ahead of time. For example, on Sunday afternoon I will bake several potatoes and sweet potatoes and also batch cook quinoa to be used for the week ahead. It saves time, but when starches and grains are pre-cooked, cooled and then reheated they contain resistant starch to feed the gut microbiome!

-Take the guesswork out of lunch by doubling your dinner recipes. Simply box up the leftovers for lunch the next day!

-Maximize your time in the kitchen to improve the number of nutrients you consume. Check out this post from Erin Cooper RD on her helpful cooking tips.

3. Add more healthy fat:

-Add frozen avocado to green smoothies. If I have overripe avocados, instead of throwing them out, I will peel and slice them and throw them in the freezer for use in my smoothies. The fat and fiber found in avocados help to feed the gut microbiome.

-Add a couple of tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil to your morning green smoothie.

-Eat 1/4 cup of raw nuts for a snack.

-Drizzle olive oil over your cooked vegetables or a salad.

-Snack on olives.

4. Water is vital in so many ways, but it also helps increase alertness and decrease fatigue. To drink more water:

- Fill a 32 ounce container with water, drink it down, refill and drink again.

-Set a reminder on your phone to drink up.

-Keep a glass of water beside your bed and drink it first thing upon waking.

5. Make breakfast simple:

-Overnight oats are a great option, check out this awesome recipe.

-Green smoothies are perfect. I usually place all my ingredients in the blender pitcher the night before and sit it in the fridge. When morning rolls around, I just have to pop in the frozen fruit, blend it up and go!

6. Make controlling portions easy:

-Darlene Holop MS, RD, LDN of recommends "the use of small ziplock portion bags that are marked off with 1/4c and 1/2c lines. These are great for items like nuts or trail mix as grab and goes for work and are available at Walmart or the dollar stores."

7. Make peace with food:

-Shena Jaramillo, MS, RD of says "if you don't love it, leave it! Enjoy your foods to the fullest at each meal and don't commit to something just because you put it on your plate."

-Melissa Nieves, RD of encourages you to take back your power when it comes to food. "Don't give food power over yourself, especially the power to make you feel guilty or that you're 'bad.' Food is just food. There are no "good" or "bad" foods, they can all be part of a balanced, health promoting diet."

Adding some of these suggestions to your routine can have a big impact on your health and quality of life. Don't worry so much about the latest fad diet or trend and just eat real food. If you are struggling to reverse a disease or condition, or would just like to feel better every day, contact us for a more personalized plan.

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