Make your own mixed bag

Make your own mixed bag


Make your own mixed bag

Fresh fruits and veggies are the foundation of a healthy diet. Here are some of the best picks to help you reach your goals:

*Frozen mixed veggie bag: This is a money and time saver. Frozen vegetables are a fantastic quick way to get your vitamins and minerals as they are frozen immediately on being reaped, locking in all their goodness.
*Dark green, leafy vegetables: If you buy just one produce item, this should be it. Greens are high in calcium, folate, vitamin C. There are lots of varieties of greens (spinach, methi leaves), broccoli, celery, coriander,  kale, chard are popular examples.
*Lettuce: Skip the iceberg (it’s low in nutrients) and grab a head of Romaine (for salads and sandwiches) and some mixed baby greens (also great for salads).
*Carrots are a simple snack (try dipping them in almond or peanut butter for a new twist) and a common ingredient in soup and stir-fry.
*Avocados, those mysterious egg-shaped fruits, are rich in good fats, and delicious additions to sandwiches, wraps, or salads. Buy them when they're green and allow them to ripen on your counter — they’re ready to eat when soft. Homemade guacamole makes a flavourful addition to veggies, burritos and baked chips.
*Apples are good to have on hand for a quick snack. They’re usually cheaper by the bag, and they last for a while, so don’t be afraid to stock up.
*Bananas are another handy snack. This fruit is also an essential if you’re a fan of smoothies. Wait for them to ripen (with a few brown spots), then peel, slice, and freeze in an airtight container for a quick, frosty addition to your favorite smoothie combo.
*Other seasonal foods. Whatever is in-season is usually most nutritious and flavourful.
What to avoid in the produce section: Fortunately, nothing in this section is bad for you, and each item offers some health benefit. You can’t go wrong if you aim for variety, filling your cart with a bounty of colourful fruit and vegetables during each grocery trip.

Bread & cereal aisles

Bread, cereals and other grain products can often be the most confusing to buy, and healthy sounding phrases on their packages (Health Nut, 12-Grain, and more) don't make it any easier. For the best bet, ignore the claims on the front of the box and go straight to the nutrition label.

*Oatmeal/ daliya is a hearty breakfast staple that cooks in minutes. Buy instant or quick oats to save time. When cooking it on the stovetop, add a handful of frozen blueberries for a scrumptious breakfast truly fit for champions. Healthy cereals are those made with whole grains and without added sugar.
*Whole wheat bread. To make sure you're buying whole grain bread (which is superior in nutrition and arguably, flavour) make sure “whole” is the first word on the ingredient list. The same goes for buns, bagels, English muffins, pitas, and other bread products.
*Brown rice is a healthy addition to many meals. For quicker cooking, you can soak it on the counter for a few hours before boiling it, or buy pre-cooked brown rice in the freezer section that you can reheat in the microwave in minutes! If you don’t have a palate as yet conditioned to brown rice, then opt for the long grain white rice such as basmati.
*Sprouted grain bread (Ezekial is a common brand) is usually sold in the freezer case or natural foods section. It's made entirely of sprouted whole grains, which are more easily digestible for some people. This bread also boasts protein (and all essential amino acids) and fibre.
*Whole grain pasta. Choose whole wheat pasta and couscous, or even brown rice pasta for variety.

What to avoid in the Bread & Cereal aisles:

*Snack cakes, doughnuts, muffins, Danishes and other pastries don't make healthy breakfast choices.
*Sugary cereals, especially those marketed to kids.
*Limit wheat flour products. Don’t let words like ‘wheat flour’ or ‘wheat bread’ fool you. Unless the ingredients list ‘whole wheat’  as #1, these products are just posing as healthy.
*Limit white flour products. Refined grains (white bread, rice and cereals) are missing the most nutritious parts of the grain.

Milk and milk products

Most grocery stores place dairy in the very back so that you’ll have to walk through the whole store (and past its enticing food items) to get to it. But even though it’s in the back, dairy holds an important place in most people's diets. So what are the top picks?
nLow-fat milk (light blue top or even better the green or yellow top) has got more calcium than blue top, but far less saturated fat. If you’re intolerant of milk (or prefer not to drink it), try dairy alternatives like soy or rice milk. The fortified varieties have as much calcium and vitamin D as dairy milk, but are free of saturated fat and cholesterol.
*Low-fat yoghurt is getting more praise everyday for supplying our bodies with probiotics, the healthy bacteria that keep our intestines happy. Choose low-fat and natural varieties, but watch the sugar content. Soy yoghurt, which is fortified with calcium and contains probiotics, is another good choice.
*Keifer, basically, is drinkable yoghurt. It’s mildly tangy, usually sweetened and whipped with fruit. It has many of the same health benefits as yoghurt.
*Cheese. Opting for the light cottage cheese is the best. They come in different flavours now, so you can try a range. Cheese is high in calcium.
*Eggs and egg whites are great sources of protein. Many experts and consumers agree that the best tasting (and possibly most nutritious) eggs come from organically-fed and pasture-raised birds.

What to avoid in the milk and milk product case:

*Dark blue or grey top (i.e full-fat) milk
*Yoghurt made with whole milk and/or lots of added sugar
*Cheese products which are highly processed cheese-like foods, but aren't real cheese
*Margarine made with hydrogenated oils

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