Easy Steps to Healthier Food Choices

Easy Steps to Healthier Food Choices
Julie Doherty Naturopathic Physician Hackham, SA

An Accredited Member of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society, Julie Graduated with distinctions from S.A. College of Botanic Medicine and Natural Therapies Pty Ltd. Professional Qualifications include: Naturopathic Doctor, Herbal & Homoeopathic Practitioner: Diet and Nutritional Medicine: Remedial & Therapeutic... more

What are the best foods for providing you with essential vitamins and minerals, and that provide energy and support for your body's everyday functions and activities? The best foods to support your optimal health begin with fresh, wholesome foods with as little to no processing as possible. Make sure that the majority of things you eat are free from chemically derived ingredients and additives.

The first steps

  • Eliminate completely animal foods that you don’t eat on a regular basis. For me this was red meat. In my early adult life red meat just didn’t seem to agree with me. So it was easy not to choose it, and easy to eliminate it from my diet completely.
  • Add more plant foods to your meal. Enjoy foods such as sweet potato, parsnips, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, pumpkin, beans, peas, broccoli, kale to your diet. Foods such as quinoa, brown rice and black rice these are also great sources of nutrients, fiber and protein. 
  • Go nuts for nuts! Nuts, too, are a healthy source of nutrition, protein and fiber. Nuts also aid healthy digestion. Either roasted or raw, start adding unsalted nuts like cashews, almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, and more, to your diet.

Thinking of becoming a vegetarian?

  • Gradually move away from chicken or fish. If you do choose to go totally vegetarian then you can alternate days when you begin, for example, including fish or chicken with your meal every other day. Slowly decrease portion size of the fish or chicken as the days go on, working toward having one or two of these meals per week until you feel quite comfortable eliminating them from your diet altogether.
  • Eating out can be somewhat of a challenge even though many restaurants are beginning to cater to vegetarians and vegans. The menu selection for these meals still leaves a lot to be desired. Don’t be afraid to ask if you see a meal that you like but don’t want any meat, chicken or fish in it. 
  • Be Prepared stock your fridge with plenty of vegetables and plant based foods. Your pantry should be stocked with nuts, seeds, wholegrain rice, quinoa, rice noodles and spelt pasta. This will help you easily stay on track.
  • Remember: you will find many of your non-dairy and vegetarian health food choices in your local health food shop and even at your local fruit and vegetable outlet. That's a good thing!

Be aware of food labeling and know that processed foods can show up in anything you buy, no matter how healthy the food product appears to be. Many foods also have added salt and sugar.

Find some simple but yummy recipes that you like and use flavors such as basil, bay leaves, thyme, mint, garlic, fennel, onion, caraway seeds, dill and more.

Ready to increase your daily intake of plant foods? Go ahead and follow this link to learn more about these delicious foods and how they support your body.