Making a meal plan is a pain, but you still want to get all your necessary vitamins, minerals, and protein through everyday foods. Even if you're not a cooking expert, you can employ a few very simple hacks in the dishes you commonly prepare. You'll be surprised how these little boosts can reap big, nutritious rewards.
No. 1: Add Quinoa to Recipes.
Want to add extra texture or color to your steamed white or brown rice? Mix it up with 1 cup of quinoa (any color) and another 2 cups of water or broth. Or, simply throw quinoa into any grain-friendly soup you're preparing, like a simple chicken soup. Quinoa is rich in antioxidants and filled with fiber to lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, reducing your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
No. 2: Replace cream with almond, walnut, or oat milk.
Cream is a popular mainstay in any kitchen, but it doesn't have to be dairy cream. Plant-based milk and creamer (such as almond, walnut, or oat milk) are often extra rich in vitamins and minerals and low in fat. They contain no cholesterol and are easy on your digestive system. Because they all have slightly different flavor profiles, you can pick your favorite. Walnut milk works surprisingly well in a creamy pasta sauce.
No. 3: Add frozen spinach to almost anything.
Fresh spinach quickly loses its folate, powerful vitamins, and nutritional benefits over time, but spinach, frozen at its peak freshness, saves the day. That's why frozen spinach is actually more nutritious than most fresh spinach at the supermarket. Whether it's for pasta, pizza, scrambled eggs, cheese dip, a smoothie, or curry, frozen spinach is more versatile than you might think. Plus, studies show spinach may have amino acids that help reduce stress and depression!
(Bonus) No. 4: Add chia seeds to cold drinks, yogurt, baked desserts, and more!
It's easy to feel guilty for indulging your cravings for sweet tea, pudding, cookies, and cake. But if you add chia seeds, you might feel a little better about it. These small seeds are densely packed with antioxidants, minerals, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which may promote heart health, support strong bones, and improve blood sugar management.
We hope these tips help make your favorite dishes a little more fun and guilt-free. Enjoy!
Dr. Kori Mortenson, DC is a chiropractor in Santa Barbara, CA. In his spare time he enjoys tango dancing, running, biking, hiking, kayaking... just being active.
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