Kick start your "eat healthier" resolution with 10 easy-to-follow strategies.
Off the charts for vitamin B12
You'd think their briny sweetness would be all the reason we need to celebrate mussels, as well as other seafood that's low on the food chain, like oysters and clams. Well, there's more. Mussels are off the charts for vitamin B12, and high in iron, protein, even vitamin C.
Suggested recipe: Saffron Steamed Mussels
Extra dollars pay off nutritionally
Make it sustainable-meat Sundays
Grass-fed meat may take a bigger bite out of your wallet than the usual grain-fed supermarket choice, but the extra dollars pay off nutritionally with meat that is lower in fat, and--thanks to the animals' pasture-based diet--higher in omega-3s and a group of fatty acids that can actually lower your cholesterol. Farmers' markets and some supermarkets sell grass-fed beef and sometimes bison, lamb, and even goat.
Suggested Recipe: Mini Lamb Meatballs with Cilantro-Mint Chutney
A grassroots movement
Try meatless Mondays
You may have heard the slogan, which started as a way to help the war effort during WWI. Now it's a grassroots movement (meatlessmonday.com) with an A-list of followers, from Michael Pollan to Mario Batali. Why take the pledge? Going meatless just one day a week can decrease your risk for cancer and other major health issues.
Suggested Recipe: Winter Greens and Mushroom Pasta
Go with the grain
You're into quinoa. Now venture a little deeper into the grocery shelves (or go to bobsredmill.com) for a handful of other super-healthy whole grains. The best reason to check out these new choices? Their nutty goodness.
Suggested Recipe: Farro Dolmas Salad
Deep yellow yolks, and perky whites
Get the right eggs
Pasture-raised eggs wow us with their rich flavor, deep yellow yolks, and perky whites. And they just may be better for us than standard supermarket eggs--fresher; higher, according to some studies, in omega-3s and vitamins A and E ; and lower in cholesterol and fat. "Pasture-raised" isn't an official definition, but generally means that the chicken got most of its nutrition from foraging, with grain to supplement . Look for the eggs at farmers' markets.
Suggested Recipe: Eggs Benedict light
High in protein, fiber, and vitamins
Cook with the tastiest bean
They're back--the small, mighty beans you may (still) have never heard of. Tepary beans sustained native people for thousands of years in the Sonoran Desert, but then nearly disappeared. Now this sweet, creamy-textured bean has a new generation of converts. And it's high in protein, fiber, and vitamins.
Suggested Recipe: Tepary bean and fennel ragout
Creating your own broth is easy
Make your own broth
Canned or packaged broth is handy for adding flavor, but it can have loads of sodium. Creating your own broth is easy, you don't have to add a speck of salt, and you can stockpile it in the freezer.
Rich in linoleic acid
Sprinkle seeds in everything
Imagine all the nourishment a plant needs to reproduce, tucked into a tiny package. Seeds are good for people too--rich in linoleic acid (an essential fatty acid, meaning one your body can't produce) and fiber. Some kinds even have lots of calcium. Buy them in the baking aisle or from bobsredmill.com.
It may actually be good for you
Enjoy your joe
If you think coffee's only benefit is the morning jolt, here's another reason to drink up: New research suggests it may actually be good for you, protecting against diabetes, increasing levels of HDL (the good cholesterol), reducing inflammation and the risk of some cancers, and even giving you more zip when you work out.
Gourmet brown-bag it
If you take a few minutes to put your lunch together instead of reaching for a packaged or take-out meal, you'll likely eat fewer calories, make healthier food choices, and part with less cash.
3 ideas to gourmet brown-bag it
1) Toss mixed greens with thin slices of roast chicken from last night's dinner, plus canned chickpeas. Pack separate containers of lemon vinaigrette and whole-grain croutons, then toss at lunchtime.
2) Dress up a salad of canned albacore (go to seafoodwatch.com for "best choice" details) with curry mayo and chopped grapes and stuff into whole-wheat pita. Add a pineapple, kiwi, and coconut salad.
3) Wrap bacon, avocado, sprouts, hummus, and tomato in big wholewheat tortillas. Tuck in baked chips and a sports bottle with pomegranate juice.