Healthy Hacks for the Holidays: Easy-Add Nutrients

Healthy Hacks for the Holidays: Easy-Add Nutrients

For me, there's not point in talking about dieting ever but especially not during the holidays; food and drinks are important parts to celebrating so unless you've been advised otherwise by a doctor, have your cake (mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, etc) and eat it too. 

BUT there are some small things you can do to at least make sure you're getting important nutrients. Most of us know to add fruit,veg, etc. to meals but what about when you don't have time or easy access to those? You go to the "easy-add nutrients!"

Below is my selection of powders, seeds and nuts that I advise clients to incorporate into their diets and that I also use myself. My picks are based on nutrients and versatility for recipes. These are good for anytime of the year but especially during the holidays or while traveling. Best of all...they pack easily and can go with you anywhere! 

 

THE POWDERS 

Dust & Mix

These lovelies can be mixed into yogurt and smoothies or dusted on top of protein balls. They're great as extra sources of energy, vitamins, antioxidants, calcium and iron. 

Açai - Comes from purple berries in the Amazonian Rainforest
  • Why is it good: Vitamin A = immunity boosting, healthy vision + bone development, Calcium = bone health + muscle function and Iron = healthy oxygen transport (also can affect energy levels)
  • How to use: Mix in with any type of liquid or cream food. I also use this in recipes like these delicious Amazonian Protein Balls.) 
  • Suggested Brand: I use this one.

 

    Guarana - Technically from seeds of an Amazoninan plant 
    • Why is it good: Caffeine = natural energy booster, Potassium =, Calcium = bone health + muscle function and Vitamin A = immunity boosting 
    • How to use: Mix in with any type of liquid or cream food. 
    • Suggested Brand: I use this one.

     

    Maca - Comes from a root in the Andes 
    • Why is it good: Calcium = bone health + muscle function, Fatty Acids = important for normal tissue functioning, Fiber = aids in healthy digestion, Protein = growth + repair in the body (esp muscles) and Antioxidants = preventive against illness
    • How to use: Mix in with any type of liquid or cream food. You can also use it in baking as it has a mild flavour. 

       

      THE SEEDS 

      Blend & Sprinkle 

      These slightly flavourless munchkins will add texture and nutrients to your meals. Sprinkle them on top of salads or blend them into soups, smoothies and healthy pancakes. They add protein, fiber, amino acid, calcium and magnesium. 

       

      Chia Seeds
      • Why are they good: Omega 3 Fatty Acids = brain development + immune function + reduce inflammation, Calcium = bone health + muscle function and Iron = healthy oxygen transport (also can affect energy levels)
      • How to use: Mix in with any type of liquid or cream food. You can also sprinkle on top of just about any type of food. Make sure to grind them into a powder so that your body can more readily digest them 

       

      Sesame Seeds
      • Why are they good: Calcium = bone health + muscle function , Magnesium = keeps body running healthily and Zinc = cell development
      • How to use: Sprinkle on top of just about any type of food from salad to mains and soups for a bit of crunch. You can also bake with them as they have a nice, mild flavour.
      • Suggested Brand: No preference. 

       

      Poppy Seeds 
      • Why are they good: Calcium + Phosphorus = bone health & development + muscle function, Iron = healthy oxygen transport (also can affect energy levels) and Zinc = cell development
      • How to use: Sprinkle on top of just about any type of food from salad to mains and soups for a bit of crunch. 
      • Suggested Brand: No preference. 

         

        THE NUTS

        Grind & Snack 

        These are the classics. They're usually easy to find and add protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamin E and omega 3s. Besides snacking on them, you can also grind them up in a food processor and top them on just about any type of food. 

         

        Almonds 
        • Why are they good: Fiber = aids in healthy digestion, Protein = growth + repair in the body (esp muscles) and Vitamin E = protects health of cells in the body
          • How to use: In addition to snacking, I grind these up in a food processor and mix in with coconut yogurt or with grain-free porridge. 
          • Suggested Brand: No preference but always buy unsalted

           

          Walnuts
          • Why are they good: Fiber = aids in healthy digestion, Protein = growth + repair in the body (esp muscles) and Omega 3 Fatty Acids = brain development + immune function + reduce inflammation
          • How to use: In addition to snacking, I also soak these, drain them and then grind them up as a meat substitute for recipes like this Vegan Taco Salad.
          • Suggested Brand: No preference but always but unsalted 

           

          Macadamia Nuts
          • Why are they good: Vitamin A = immunity boosting, Iron = healthy oxygen transport (also can affect energy levels), Protein = growth + repair in the body (esp muscles) and Antioxidants = preventive against illness
          • How to use: In addition to snacking, I mix this one with a bit of olive oil, garlic and cilantro/coriander for a pesto type sauce that's great with main meals.
          • Suggested Brand: No preference but always but unsalted 

           

            A combination of the above should give you a great start to staying nutrient-rich and energized over the holiday period when we tend to get more dehydrated, skip meals and eat crap. (Don't get me wrong I love eating a bit of crap, no judgement here it's just the reality.) These are not substitutes for real meals and ideally you'd still be getting a bit of fruit, veg and healthy proteins from more substantial sources.  

            This list isn't exhaustive or exclusive, there are many other benefits to eating the items listed above and there are also many other options you can choose from besides my picks. This should give you some ideas though and help you to stay in the right direction over the holiday! 

             

            *I don't receive any commission for the promotion of the brands I mention in this blog post. These are just brands that I use and trust. 

            **Not all of these items are for everyone - experiment and see what works for you and as always, be observant and make sure to speak with a doctor if you feel any unusual negative side effects.

             

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