New Year, Healthier You, One Bite at a Time

Nutrition story image croppedWhile we can’t believe how fast 2022 came and went, here we are with a fresh new year ahead of us. Perhaps one filled with the resolution to eat healthier – if so, how are you doing so far?

Don’t worry, no judgment here. Eating well can be a challenge, but it doesn’t need to be insurmountable. It can be as simple as making a few small changes to the things you eat. Here at Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County, we want to share a few simple switches from Nutrition Advisory Council members Beth Blake, MPH, RDN, and Dareen Khatib, MPH, RDN, MCHES that can have a profound impact on your health. The Nutrition Advisory Council is made up of a group of qualified experts in the nutrition field who advise and strategize Second Harvest’s nutritional programming and planning to ensure that we not only help fight food insecurity in Orange County but nutritional insecurity as well.

Next time you are at the market, pick up a bag of pre-washed greens (leafy greens, not lettuce). This can be spinach, kale, collard or a mix of greens. Leafy greens are a good source of fiber, iron, folate and other B vitamins. Try these “hacks” to incorporate healthy habits into your everyday routine:

  • Canned soup is easy and comforting on a cold day. Add leafy greens when you are heating up the soup since they cook in just a few minutes.
  • Making a quick quesadilla? Tuck in a handful of greens near the end of the cook time.
  • Instant ramen noodles are portable and convenient, but mostly starches and sodium. Add leafy greens to your noodles to instantly increase the nutritional value.
  • Having frozen pizza for dinner? Top your cooked pizza with a few raw greens. If you like them slightly charred, you can add them on top for the last few minutes of baking.
  • Instead of lettuce on a sandwich or burger, use greens instead. Simply substitute them anytime you would use fresh lettuce.
  • Get more fiber by choosing more whole grains like whole wheat or whole wheat breads and pastas, brown or wild rice, corn tortillas, and oatmeal in place of refined grains like white bread, white rice, flour tortillas, and desserts grains like donuts, cakes, and pastries.
  • Get healthy fats by choosing more plant based oils like olive, avocado, or canola oil in place of solid fats like butter or lard.
  • Switch to more plant based proteins like beans, lentils, seeds, and nuts in place of processed red meat to get more fiber, vitamins, and minerals with less saturated fat.

So don’t give up on eating healthy just yet. By making a few simple and delicious swaps, you can eat your way to better health, one bite at a time.