Eggs, avocados, and broths: Check out these healthy meal starters and swaps
We’re all looking for simple ways to eat healthy while keeping life tasty with novel foods. And the truth is, eating well doesn’t have to be boring or difficult. Check out these easy and affordable ideas for delicious meal starters and food swaps that can curb your appetite and reduce your caloric intake while packing in the nutrients.
1. Start your meals with homemade broth, a nutritional powerhouse
Homemade broths are low in calories, high in nutrients, and quite filling. You can make broth, also known as “stock,” by roasting and boiling animal bones (chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, even pork) with vegetables, herbs, and spices. Stocks are used in cultural dishes all over the world and as a base for soups in gourmet kitchens. The bone marrow infuses the liquid with amino acids, matrix proteins, collagen, and minerals such as calcium and magnesium that will strengthen your bones, joints, teeth, and hair.
As every grandma knows, broths also boost your immune system, and you can make them even more nutrient dense by throwing in colorful vegetables. In addition, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends starting meals with water and fiber-rich foods like broth or broth-based soups in order to cut calories and feel full.
How to cook healthy broths at home
Since you control all the ingredients in your concoction, it won’t be high in sodium or contain high-fructose corn syrup like many commercial stocks. Make a big batch once a week and refrigerate it in serving-size containers. You can also freeze cubes of homemade broth to use as the base for soups and sauces.
The longer you let your broth simmer, the richer it will taste – make it as simple or elaborate as you’d like. Another benefit? You can add leftover veggies, pasta, grains, beans, and bits of meats, creating an affordable, nutritious, and sustainable meal.
Oh, and one last, little broth tidbit: The secret to extracting all the minerals from the bones? Acid. Add a splash of vinegar to your broth, or ideally, pre-soak cold bones in a pot of cold water with two tablespoons of vinegar to get every last bit of nutrients out of those bones.
Multicultural and healthy broth recipes
Check out these phenomenally healthy and versatile broth recipes incorporating delicious ingredients from Vietnamese, Mexican, Chinese, and Persian cuisines.
2. Swap saturated fats with avocado
The avocado is mostly used as a vegetable, but technically it’s a fruit. That isn’t the most interesting thing about this super food, however: Instead of being high in carbohydrates like most fruits and veggies, avocados are packed with healthy monounsaturated fats (known as MUFA) which protect your heart.
Avocados are also high in calcium, folate, copper, and magnesium – and they have more potassium than bananas. They contain soluble fiber that keeps blood sugar levels stable and insoluble fiber that helps digest food and block fat absorption. Plus, both MUFAs and fiber give you a full feeling, suppressing your appetite. According to a study in Nutrition Journal, adding a serving of avocado at lunch can make you feel full three to five hours later.
How to cook healthy with avocados
MUFAs like avocados are high in calories, so use them to replace other fats rather than as an addition. One way to incorporate avocados into your diet on a daily basis is by spreading them on burgers, tacos, and sandwiches instead of mayonnaise or sour cream. Their buttery rich flavor may allow you to forego cheese as well.
And believe it or not, you can substitute avocado for butter or oil in your baking! Bake more nutritious brownies, cakes, and muffins with fresh avocados.
Cooking tip for avocados
A ripe avocado feels a little soft to the touch.
Once you peel an avocado, it starts to oxidize and turn dark. The brown part is safe to eat, but many people find it unappetizing. Add lemon juice to slow down the oxidation process.
Try making some healthy avocado cookies
These oatmeal cookies made with avocados, whole grain oatmeal, and fruit make a great breakfast, snack, or dessert, and they meet the recipe guidelines of the American Diabetes Association.
3. A simple staple validated: Eat eggs in the morning!
A study published by The Journal of the American College of Nutrition showed that an egg-based meal in the morning will keep you feeling full and prevent you from eating more calories later in the day. Eggs simply rock as diet food, since they’re low in calories and pack a nutritional punch. Plus, they’re pretty inexpensive, making them an affordable way to get your protein.
What makes eggs such a valuable food source is that they are a complete protein. Both the yolks and the whites contain the nine essential amino acids in the quantity that the body needs, but cannot manufacture. You must get these amino acids from your diet.
Protein-rich foods curb your appetite and eating eggs suppresses ghrelin, the hunger hormone, while controlling glucose levels. In addition, the body uses extra energy to metabolize proteins which can speed up your metabolism. And if all that isn’t enough, the protein in eggs helps you recover muscle tissue after exercise.
For years, people were told to stay away from eggs because they were thought to raise cholesterol levels. After decades of study, it has been established that high-cholesterol foods do not raise blood-levels of cholesterol as once believed. Saturated fats do raise cholesterol levels, but yolks only have a small bit of it. Eggs also contain vitamin A, B2 D, B6, B12, E and K, and minerals such as potassium, selenium, zinc, iron, and copper.
Cooking healthy with eggs
Top sandwiches or rice dishes with fried or poached eggs. Add uncooked scrambled eggs or egg whites to pastas or soups to ramp up the protein. To add variety to your meal, consider cooking with duck, goose, or quail eggs. You can make homemade egg drop soup, which is low-calorie and filling.
When picking eggs, make sure to select varieties that contain omega-3 fatty acids stemming from the chicken’s diet. These inflammation-fighting fatty acids increase your metabolism, keep glucose levels stable, and they increase the activity of leptin, the hormone that signals when you are full.
Healthy egg recipes
One of the characteristics of eggs that make them vital to cuisines all over the world is their flexibility. You can enjoy eggs by themselves or in quiches, hashes, in salads, soups – you name it.
By making small changes in your diet, you can easily reduce your caloric intake and boost your metabolism. If you’re looking for more ways to eat healthier and lose weight the right way, reach out to us to learn more about Ideal Protein, our evidence-based weight loss program. Ideal Protein has helped tens of thousands of people just like you succeed in attaining their goals.
Call today to Book your Free Consultation at 855-545-2737.
Dr. Nina Coletta has been practicing Podiatric medicine for nearly 20 years and is the owner of Plantation Wellness Center. For the past 30 years, Dr. Coletta has been a fitness and nutrition enthusiast. Her passion for health and wellness, along with a strong desire to help her patients live healthy lifestyles, led to the selection of Ideal Protein as her platform of choice for weight loss.