You’re healthy today, right? There’s no need to worry? Are you sure?
I wish someone would have knocked some sense into my head when I thought life was all glorious and nothing bad could ever happen to me like a stroke. You would think that even knowing I have a family history that includes strokes that I would listen.
I hope you’re listening today.
Harvard Medical School lists a healthy diet as one of the top five ways to reduce your stroke risk. Cutting back on saturated fats, consuming less sugar and red meat are some of the first things you should consider.
Substitute unsaturated fats for saturated fats such as peanuts, avocados, almonds and sesame seeds. Fish, walnuts and canola oil are also good to include. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are good fats to include in your daily lifestyle.
A new favorite healthy fat of mine is Olive Oil. It really adds some deep flavor to your food.
Fruits & Vegetables
You may not want to hear this but we need to include more fruits and vegetables into our meals. Why fruits and vegetables?
Fruits and vegetables include many important vitamins and minerals such as:
- Vitamin A, C & E
- Folic Acid
Eating more fruits and vegetables can help protect you from Type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure.
You may think that adding more healthy foods to your day is difficult, and it may be to start with, but just start with one or two of your favorite foods. I started with apples and bananas. Next, I started adding in cantaloupe and small cups of fruit with no sugar added. You will be surprised on how little steps will lead to big changes.
Here are some great ideas of fruits to add to your day:
Now try some of these vegetables:
The main thing to do with vegetables is to start with ones you like.
I have another great idea for you.
Take some of your favorite vegetables and create a grilled chicken and pasta dish with them. Go easy on the pasta and consider using whole wheat pasta.
Here is a dish I make that my kids absolutely love and they don’t even realize over half of the dish is vegetables. I’m not going to layout a specific recipe but I will give you some general ideas that you can “tweak” to make it work for your family.
- 1st, I buy some quality chicken breast and start baking it. I normally use 2 pounds of chicken and cook it for approximately 45 minutes at 350 degrees. I like to salt and pepper the chicken lightly before going in the oven and Tony Chachere’s Creole spice really adds some additional flavor.
- 2nd, I chop up my vegetables and get them sauteing in a large pan using Pam Olive Oil Spray. Olive oil adds some great flavor but the Pam keeps the calories out. Saute these, then add some salt and pepper until they are cooked right for you (try to go easy on the salt, your arteries will appreciate it). I cook mine for about 20 minutes on medium to high heat. Make sure you keep adding Pam to keep the vegetables from burning. Here are the vegetables me and my kids love to include:
- Red onion
- Green bell pepper
- Red bell pepper
- I like to add asparagus but my family likes it better without this one
- 3rd, cut up the cooked chicken breast into bite size chunks and add them to the vegetables.
- Lastly, I like to use Bertolli Light Alfredo sauce. Toss it all together and serve.
This dish tastes great and makes meals for several days.
One word of advice. Buy some Rubbermaid containers or Pyrex Food Storage containers to separate into smaller portions. This will do wonders for helping you eat less by keeping the food in smaller, sealed containers.
You should switch to water instead of sodas and even fruit drinks. I like to keep some fruit drinks around for the times I start wanting something more than water but my experience is, water will help you feel more full but more importantly it keeps you hydrated. Most every dietitian will tell you to drink approximately 10 glasses of water per day. I have met a few health providers who disagree with this so just do some of your own research and find what is best for your body.
The bottom line is that water is much better than about anything other drink you can put in your body.
How About Some Meat – Or Some Proteins Please
I love meat. I know some of you don’t but we all need some form of protein. You should include some healthy protein in your daily diet. Here are some ideas.
- Chicken breast
- Lean beef
- soy foods
The main idea to understand here is that protein shouldn’t be the biggest portion of the types of food you eat and fatty, processed foods, including that juicy steak should rarely be on your plate.
Here’s a quick question and answer from Harvard Health about how much red meat you should consider eating on a daily basis.
Please Join in The Discussion Below
This would be a great time for you to leave a comment below or share a favorite healthy dish that others of us could benefit from and please don’t hesitate to ask questions.