Nutrition Finding Healthy Food Options in Common Foods By Digestive Disorders, February 20, 2014 All our lives we are told to “eat this, not that” without giving much thought as to why. A diet is an ever-changing thing and it varies from person to person. Here, we’ll explain why some foods may better fit into your meal plan. Chicken or red meat? – Both chicken and red meat are good sources of protein, B vitamins and iron. Skinless white meat chicken is lower in saturated fat than most cuts of beef. To keep the fat content low avoid adding excessive fat when cooking, such as frying. Whole grain bread or white? – Whole grains are a great source of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Whole grain is made up of three parts: the bran, the germ and the endosperm which are packed with nutrients. Processed or refined grains found in white bread have removed some of these nutrient rich parts of the grain. Studies have shown that consuming whole grains may help to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes and may also help with weight management. Solid fruit or Fruit smoothie? – Both solid fruit and smoothies are a way to ensure a recommended daily value of fruits packed with nutrients. Eating solid fruit may help you to feel fuller because beverages high in water do not last as long in the stomach. Fruit smoothies may contain multiple servings of fruit and added sugars that can be high in calories and absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. Smoothies may not be a good choice for daily use for those with blood sugar concerns or those trying to loose or maintain their weight. Fresh, frozen or canned vegetables? – Vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fiber. Vegetables are highest in nutrients when they are fresh picked from the garden or purchased at a local farmers market. Choose fresh vegetables that are in season and local to prevent nutrient losses that occur during prolonged shipping. Frozen and canned vegetables are good alternatives when local produce is not available. They are picked at their peak of ripeness and packaged quickly to preserve freshness. Canned vegetables may be higher in sodium. This can be reduced by rinsing or choosing low sodium varieties. Next time you’re shopping, try to choose healthy foods that best meet your nutritional needs!