I just picked up a T-shirt that says, “Eat Well and Travel Often.” It was obviously made just for me. Traveling to new places and seeing new things is something I enjoy tremendously. And enjoying delicious meals makes me feel pampered and cared for. But since I can’t travel to exotic destinations every week, eating well is something I spend more of my time thinking about.
In fact, with two teenagers in the house, planning meals is almost a full-time job. Sometimes when the kids get home from school in the afternoon, I’ll hear “What’s for dinner” before I hear a hello.
My goal is to come up with balanced food plates. And while I often preach the benefits of greens, I try to come up with new and varied dishes so that we’re all getting the nutrition we need, without getting bored with what we’re eating.
For people living with multiple sclerosis (MS), a healthy diet is an integral part of maintaining one’s health, along with exercise and regular doctor visits. Fueling our bodies with good-for-you foods helps to keep it running at its optimum level. There are so many aspects of MS that are out of our control, but a healthy diet is one place where we can make a difference.
No matter your age, your taste buds, or your busy lifestyle, there’s always a way to put healthy foods on your table. Here are my top five food hacks for adding some healthy variety to your diet.
- Think green! Fresh vegetables that are brightly colored contain more antioxidants, which protect you from disease. So fill a large part of your plate with greens like spinach, kale, or romaine. Spinach and kale can be easily and quickly sautéed with ginger, garlic, scallions, nuts, seeds, or other vegetables for a healthy and delicious side dish.
- Choose lean proteins. Fish, poultry, beans, and nuts are excellent choices – they’ll fill you up and keep you heart-healthy. You don’t have to cut out cheese and meat, but eat them in moderation.
- Don’t fear fat! Contrary to what we’ve been told, fat doesn’t make you fat. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other diseases we want to avoid. Healthy oils are a great choice – enjoy olive oil on salads and when cooking. Avocados, which are great sliced on toast with a little olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, are also a great source of Omega-3s.
- Go brown. Limit refined grains (white bread and white rice) and instead choose brown rice, oats, or quinoa, which contain fiber and protein.
- Hydrate. Water is best, whether it’s still or sparkling. Enjoy it with a slice of lemon or lime to change it up.
Feeding your body healthful foods reduces the risk of other chronic diseases and provides vitamins and nutrients critical to maintaining your health. And it’s empowering! We all need reminders from time to time about how to keep our bodies healthy. Which of these hacks resonate for you?
Health Coach, Health/E, LLC
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Elissa is a holistic Health Coach and founder of Health/E, LLC. She works with individuals to help them find energy, strength, and balance through nutrition, exercise, and self-care. Elissa gives workshops throughout the New York area, and runs support groups for the National MS Society, in addition to working one-on-one with clients.