After months of winter, it can be easy to crave comfort food this time of year. And often, with big life changes, it can be hard to keep eating healthy, fresh food in the same way. But there may be no better time to focus on eating a balanced, nutritious diet than when your daily routine changes. Below are some food and nutrients you should be sure to keep in your kitchen – or on your shopping list for at-home grocery delivery.
Whatever is in Season
Even though it’s winter, you can still think about your shopping list in terms of what’s in season. A big benefit of buying produce in season? The fruits and vegetables that end up in your kitchen are perfectly ripe and tasty.
Great winter staples include everything from clementines and pomegranates to kale, squash, and brussels sprouts.
Protein, Protein, Protein
We build a lot of our meals around main proteins, but we don’t often think about all of the varied nutrients that different protein sources can provide. Sure, you need protein to feel full and build muscle – but there are other benefits as well.
Adding cheese or milk to a meal can improve bone strength with calcium and phosphorus, and dairy also comes with lots of Vitamin D and B12.
For a whole range of immune and health boosting vitamins, look to the oceans. Shellfish like scallops, crab and even oysters might seem decadent, but they come chock-full of vital nutrients like B12, iron, magnesium and potassium.
Fatty fish like salmon are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help reduce blood pressure, among other benefits.
All the Colors of the Rainbow
A good rule of thumb when piling up your plate is to make sure you have a whole range of colors – from orange squash and turnips to purple cabbage and beets to green broccoli and peppers. Dark fruit in particular – like raspberries and blueberries – contain antioxidants, which can prevent cell damage.
An Apple A Day
The old adage isn’t wrong! Apples do all kinds of great things for you, including their heavy dose of fiber that slows down uptake of glucose. These little powerhouses also have potassium, antioxidants, and vitamin C – so stock up!
Loading up on dark green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, and swiss chard is like reading the alphabet – including vitamins A, B, C, E, and K. They also contain folate, a kind of B vitamin, which helps protect against cancer, among other things. If the full alphabet isn’t enough, there’s also fiber, iron, magnesium and calcium to look forward to.
With all of these vitamins, it’s perhaps no surprise that studies on leafy green vegetables have linked them with slowing down cognitive decline.
A serving of Greek yogurt has not one, not two, but three huge health benefits. Not only high in protein, there is also tons of bone-strengthening calcium in each serving. Plus, yogurt is a great place to get probiotics, which help support a healthy digestive system.
Boost Your Memory
Lots of foods have been linked to improving memory, or preventing memory loss. Make sure to include everything from nuts and fatty fish to turmeric, oranges and broccoli to help keep your brain strong.
Don’t Lose Sight of Vitamin A
Vitamin A, found in a wide range of food, not only boosts your immune system overall, but supports eye health in particular. You can find the powerful nutrient in goat, cheddar, and feta cheese (among others), hard-boiled eggs, salmon and tuna, or veggies like sweet potato, carrots, and red pepper.
Both tea and coffee have been proven to have tons of health benefits, like boosting memory. So if getting a little jolt in the morning is part of your routine, drink away!
If this list seems a bit overwhelming, remember that Privatus caregivers and your entire care team are here to help, whether that means working with you to create a meal plan, lining up transportation for weekly trips to the local farmer’s market, or setting you up for customized, nutritious meal delivery at home.