By Joy Bauer, RD
A: Stock up on a mix of convenient, healthy fresh and packaged foods that don't need much prep. For breakfast, go for low-sugar cereals, skim milk (or your favorite milk alternative) and quick-cooking oatmeal. For lunch, dinner and snacks, buy fresh produce, whole-wheat bread, natural nut butters (peanut, almond, etc.), nonfat yogurt, precooked chicken breasts, frozen turkey and veggie burgers, microwavable pouches of brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, jarred marinara sauce, and frozen vegetables and fruits. Also, keep a stash of a few frozen entrées and canned soups, but look for ones that have short ingredient lists, are made from whole grains and have no more than 600 mg sodium, 4.5 g saturated fat, and of course 0 g trans fat. Photo by: Thinkstock
Q: I can't find the time to cook so I mostly eat packaged foods. How can I eat better?
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Q: Which salad dressings are the healthiest? Or should I just use plain oil and vinegar?
A: Oil and vinegar is a terrific choice because it's low in salt (bottled salad dressings can have more than 400 mg in 2 Tbsp). Just go easy on the oil-use no more than 1 Tbsp (120 calories). Or whip up a batch of my Skinny Balsamic Vinaigrette, which has just 59 calories and 40 mg sodium in 2 Tbsp (see recipe below). Per serving, dressing should have less than 140 mg sodium and no more than 80 calories or 2 g saturated fat-which is what to look for in any bottled dressing.
JOY'S SKINNY BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE
In a jar, combine ½ cup balsamic vinegar, 3 Tbsp olive oil, ¼ cup water, 1 Tbsp mustard, 1 tsp honey, and 1 tsp garlic powder. Shake until everything is well combined. It'll stay fresh in the fridge for five days. Makes eight 2-Tbsp servings.
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Q: I have diabetes. What foods should I try to avoid?
A: Watch out for foods and drinks that can spike your blood sugar levels. Soda is one of the biggest culprits, but also limit all other high-calorie, sugary beverages, like sweet tea, lemonade, fancy coffee drinks, even 100% fruit juices. Real fruit juices do offer vitamins and other nutrients, but they're also packed with sugar. Give the boot to candy and baked goods as well. The same goes for dried fruit-though nutritious, it's concentrated in sugar. It's also important to cut back on refined carbs like white bread and pasta, white rice and sugary cereals. These foods rapidly break down into glucose (sugar) in your body.
There are a few healthy carbs that I encourage you to keep eating, but in moderation (no more than 1 to 2 servings per meal): whole grains like pasta, brown rice, quinoa and whole-wheat breads, and starchy vegetables including potatoes, peas and corn. They generally raise your blood sugar much more slowly than refined carbs, and they're a good source of fiber. You can also eat whole fruits in their natural form (apples, oranges, berries, etc.). They're lower in sugar than fruit juice or dried fruit, and chockful of fiber and vitamins, minerals and other nutrients crucial to your good health. That said, fruit is pure carbohydrate, so always pair it with a protein (think apples and cheese, grapefruit with scrambled eggs) to help blunt the rise in blood sugar.
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JOY BAUER, RD, is the health and nutrition expert for the TODAY show and bestselling author of Joy Bauer's Food Cures. For more info, go to JoyBauer.com.
Original article appeared on WomansDay.com.
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