Want to go the extra step? Here're the best fixes for you everyday diet.
You've created a delicious and nutritious shake by tossing in a brilliant combination of superfoods into your blender - from hemp or chia seeds to cashew butter, bananas, almond milk or organic whey protein and some dark green veggies. Without proper portion control, though, this can easily become a belly-busting calorie bomb.
The Solution? In general, try to stick to about 1-2 cups of fruits, up to 1 tablespoon of healthy fats (nut butters, avocado, flaxseeds or other seeds), and skip the juices. Instead of adding juices, try non-fat or low-fat milk or water as your base. Instead of throwing in added sugars from sweeteners, try to increase flavor by adding spices (such as cinnamon), fresh herbs, or ginger.
Check out 24 of our tasty Whey Protein Shake recipes at http://www.energyfirst.com/protein-shake-recipes, most of which are under 300 calories and combine proper portions of a fruit or vegetable (or both), protein source, and a healthy fat. Also, a great way to pack more nutrition into your shake without going overboard on calories is Greenergy. One 30 calorie scoop added to your shake packs in the equivalent of about 5-7 servings of veggies.
True, if you're aiming for a good-quality yogurt (that has live active cultures and strains such as Lactobacillus acidophilus or Lactobacillus bulgaricus), you're getting some good gut bacteria. Keep it up!
However, variety is the spice of life in any diet. For far greater exposure to different probiotic strains, try other sources. Kefir is a tart but refreshing fermented milk drink similiar to yogurt and rich in lactobacilli and bifidus bacteria.
Other non-yogurt sources of probiotics include kombucha (a fermented tea), sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), kimchi (a spicy Asian version of fermented cabbage), miso soup (made from fermented rye, beans, and rice or barley), pickles, and tempeh (a fermented grain made from soybeans that can be used in salads, baked, or deliciously sauteed). Finally, there are probiotic supplements that can help fill the gaps, such as EnergyFirst's Probiotic Complex Blend.
Only is the keyword there. Whole flaxseeds are a great part of a healthy diet. They are a great plant source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and lignans. To reap more benefits from what these seeds contain, however, make sure to also consume them in ground form so that they don't always pass through your body undigested.
Refrigerating them whole is a smart way to extend their freshness. You can simply grind as much as you need for the day or week at home with a coffee or spice grinder. Ground flaxseeds are a great addition to shakes, oatmeal, yogurt, baked goods, or even sauces and dips.
It always starts with innocently chopping those dark greens and slicing those bright orange and red veggies. Then mounds of croutons, cheese, and bacon strips are piled on top!
Looking for more nutritious toppings for your salad? Many are familiar with mixing in dried cherries or raisins with their greens. Try fresh ones, too! Pears, mandarins, berries, pomegranate seeds, and even watermelon all complement various salads.
Nuts and seeds, including flax seeds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and almonds add a nutrient-dense punch to your salads and make them more filling.
Avocados are another great addition to salads and salad dressings. Sure, they're high in fat. They are an excellent source of vitamin E and fiber. As a plus, the fat from avocados and other oils used in salad dressings help absorb the carotenoids and fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) found in the veggies.
Create a delicious salad dressing you can store in your fridge with 1 avocado, 2 T apple cider vinegar, a clove of garlic, a dash of dill, and some finely chopped chives (salt and pepper to taste). Mix it with 3/4 cup of water to get it to the proper consistency.
Want to go the extra step? Try edible flowers. Yes, violets, roses, pansies, and marigolds can add flavor and a splash of color to your favorite salads. The key word is edible. Make sure they are edible and not toxic or grown with dangerous pesticides.