Tips and tricks: meeting nutrient needs

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Nutrients like vitamins and minerals are found in many foods and are crucial to keeping your body functioning as well as it can. Here are some easy ways that you can ensure that you are including a large variety of nutrients in your body.

 

Focus on colors

In general, natural colors in food are a signal that they contain vitamins and minerals that your body needs.

“Different colors of food provide different nutrients, so working on getting a variety of colors will really add a lot of nutrition without a lot of work,” Registered Dietician Mariah Adams said.

For example, Adams said that orange fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that are good for your eyes, while red ones often help to protect your heart.

Aiming to make your plate a rainbow is a great way to ensure that you’re getting in a variety of nutrients that you need.

 

Eat a variety of foods

Just as different colors of food contain different nutrients, different types do as well. For instance, red meat like beef is high in iron, and bananas are high in potassium. In order to make sure that you are getting a balance of all types of vitamins and minerals, it is essential that you eat many different types of foods rather than just sticking to a select few.

 

Keep fruits and veggies on hand

Fruits and vegetables have an abundance of nutrients that help your body to function well. A good way to incorporate more of them into your diet is by having a fruit bowl at easy access on the counter in your kitchen. You can fill it with bananas, oranges, apples or whatever fruit you like best. This makes for an easy snack if you are running out the door. One way to include more vegetables is to cut up a variety of them at the beginning of the week and store them in the fridge. Wherever snack time hits, it is convenient to snack on them, and you don’t have to spend a lot of time cutting them up each day.

Adams also recommends looking at every meal you eat and thinking of ways that you can add in fruits or vegetables. For example, she recommended cutting up bananas or putting berries on your cereal.

“A great goal would be to work towards half of your meal being fruits and vegetables,” Adams said.

 

Frozen and canned foods are great too

Prepping food at the beginning of the week can be great, but don’t forget about fruits and veggies that you can buy pre-prepared. Frozen and canned foods also contain many essential nutrients and provide an easy and cost-effective way to include more into your diet. Just be sure that the frozen and canned goods are just the fruits and vegetables without any added sugar or other ingredients.

 

Add in superfoods

Superfoods, like chia and flax seeds, hemp hearts and goji berries live up to their names. They can be great additions to any meal to help boost the nutritional profile. However, they are not at all a necessity for having a healthy diet and are more of a fun extra that you can add, if you are able to.

 

Supplements

Supplements for some vitamins and minerals can be helpful if your diet is limited, like vegans or vegetarians.

But, the first place you should go to get in nutrients is whole foods, and you should only include supplements or vitamins if specifically recommended by your doctor, according to Adams. So, only supplement when it is absolutely necessary, and be sure to ask your doctor before adding in any new ones.