It’s back-to-school time, which means jam-packed days and not a lot of time for cooking elaborate dinners. You’re determined not to make the drive-thru a regular stop, but is there a fast way to keep meals healthful? Dr. Partha Nandi, author of ASK DR. NANDI, tells you how to pack your meals full of nutrition without breaking a sweat.
Here are a few simple ways to add more nutrition to go-to foods in our go-go life:
1. Add a ¼ cup of peanut, cashew or almond butter to any fruit-based smoothie. You increase protein content and provide more fuel to the body longer, creating stamina.
2. Think of granola and oatmeal as fruit and nut delivery systems: Add berries, slivered almonds, walnut pieces, chia seeds and ground flax to increase flavor and nutritional power. Use almond milk instead of dairy.
3. Detox with a cup of strong black tea mixed with the juice of one lemon. You’ll get a blast of vitamin C while having your cells flushed of toxins.
4. Take a simply grilled chicken breast or firm white fish filet and sauce it with nutrition. In a small pan, combine the juice of 2 oranges and ¼ cup chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid is cut in half or more. Pour over entrée.
5. Rinse a can of black or pinto beans and add to rice any time you serve it. The beans add texture but won’t interrupt the flavor. They also combine with rice to create a powerful protein addition to any dish.
6. Home baked goods such as muffins and quick breads should also get several tablespoons of ground flax seeds to up the nutrition and add omega 3 fatty acids, so prized by your brain and cardiovascular system. The flax has to be ground to release its amazing properties; an old coffee grinder is best for this. Throw ground flax and chia seeds into your smoothies, granola and oatmeal as well.
7. Add up to a ¼ cup of turmeric to smoothies to fight internal inflammation that is so devastating to cells and organs. Turmeric will color the drink but the taste is negligible.
8. Throw a handful of fresh herbs into salads, atop roasted meats, tossed with vegetables or mixed with olive oil to drizzle on tomatoes. Oregano (Greek, Mexican and Italian varieties) carry a huge anti-oxidant punch followed by the next strongest: dill, thyme, rosemary and peppermint. Use fresh chopped herbs with great abundance – a quarter or half cup at a time. Brew peppermint tea. View and use herbs as a food, full of nutrition and flavor.
9. Serve ¼ of an avocado, sliced, as a side for every meal. Avocados are a super food; it’s as simple as that. Don’t worry about the calories: Your body (and that includes all your organs, including your brain) will soak that nutrition up like a sponge.
10. As often as possible, prepare and eat with your #Tribe. The combination of good nutrition and bonding (don’t forget your vagus nerve!) is a win-win for the entire body.
In ASK DR. NANDI, readers learn how to become their own #HealthHero using the 5 Pillars of health: