Focus on Variety
Focus on Variety
In honor of National Nutrition Month®, let’s talk about variety in our food choices. Every food we choose has a different nutrient profile and, therefore, can benefit our bodies in different ways. For instance, strawberries, which are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, can help protect our hearts, bones, and immune systems and promote gut health. Walnuts, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, selenium, and phytosterols, may increase the level of serotonin in our brains (improving our mood and sleep!), protect against cardiovascular disease, and support our immune systems.
By including a variety of foods in your meals and snacks, you can increase the type and number of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, protein, fatty acids, and more, that work in your body to promote high-functioning organ systems and protect against disease. Your brain, heart, muscles, eyes, kidneys, liver, gut, skin, and blood cells depend on you to provide all essential nutrients in appropriate amounts.
Rather than focus on vitamin and mineral supplementation, try to include at least three food groups at every meal and at least two food groups at every snack. The main food groups to focus on include the following:
Another way to increase variety is to focus on one specific food group and trying new foods within that group. To achieve this, you can try to increase the variety of fruits or vegetables that you eat, or maybe there’s a grain that you’ve been wanting to try, like quinoa or bulgur.
The options are endless for adding variety to your meals, and it can make a big difference in your health and meal satisfaction!