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10 Foods to Add to Your Diet

Sara Gaynes, Boston Herald

Posted March 31, 2013

OK, you're going to get serious about healthy eating after you finish the Valentine's chocolates. Here are the 10 must have foods to add to your diet on a near-daily basis -- with reasonable portions, of course -- to shed pounds, feel energized and look great.

1. Greek yogurt: We often concentrate our protein intake at the end of the day, but we'll feel more full if we have smaller- portions of protein throughout the day, says Joan Salge Blake, a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and professor of nutrition at Boston University. Try adding a low or nonfat greek yogurt to your breakfast to get an early a.m. serving.

2. Soup: "One of the best ways to get more vegetables into your diet is soup," Blake said. "If you have vegetable-broth-based soup before a meal, it can help you reduce the number of calories you eat at that meal."

3. Ancient grains such as amaranth, quinoa, farro: "People get bored with brown rice, so having some of these nice grains will mix it up a bit," Blake said. But watch your portion size: No more than one-quarter of the plate should be grains of any kind.

4. Fish: The AAND recommends two fish meals a week to help combat heart disease, and most of us are falling way short. We love Blake's no-cook fix for getting in two meals: "When you go out to dinner, order a bigger cut of grilled salmon -- it's fantastic -- take half home and have the other half for lunch the next day."

5. Almonds: Carry a small baggie of these powerhouse-healthy nuts for sudden snack attacks. "I can always pop a half-ounce. It's a great source of fiber, healthy fats and protein, and I'm not stopping at a convenience store and eating a candy bar," Blake said.

6. Fruit-infused water: One of the biggest sources of calories in the American diet is sugary drinks. Blake has a genius way to get your flavored-beverage fix: a water- pitcher with an infusion cylinder. Try adding water-melon, cucumber, lemons, limes and more to your pitcher for a refreshing, zero-calorie treat.

7. Beans: The magical fruit is "extremely affordable, wonderfully high in fiber and a good source of protein," Blake said. And it's a great calorie-swap, too: Switch out a half-pound of meat in chili for a half-can of beans and save big on your total intake number.

8. Dark chocolate: A surefire way to blow your diet is total deprivation. Instead, indulge sensibly. Try Blake's trick: Melt a half-ounce of good-quality dark chocolate in the microwave, then dip strawberries or pineapple chunks for a sweet treat.

9. Seasonal produce: Shopping the aisles for what Mother Nature gave us is a great way to eat better, but Blake recommends taking it a step further and sticking to seasonal items. "What's in season is going to be more affordable and taste better," she said.

10. Stevia: "It's got less calories and can replace regular sugar," said Blake of the trendy all-natural sweetener. Of course, re-placing your coffee's sugar with stevia won't mean much if you're still downing soda, so swap smartly.

©2013 the Boston Herald

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