The ripe old adage that ” An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is a great reminder to eat fruit. Even so, it doesn’t mean that everyone likes to eat the crisp, colorful fruit of old. If you and your family need to add more fruit and healthier foods to your diet-know that an alternative to driving nutritional value into your meals can be accomplished by sneaking better food into your meals, without being seen.
A healthy diet starts with the basic food group pyramid: fruits, vegetables, breads or grains and low fat milk. It also includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, and nuts. In addition, a good diet has minimal amounts of saturated fats, cholesterol, sodium, and low sugars in it.
The following techniques and tips will help you slip nutrition into your diet, practically unnoticed. Keys to camouflaging nutrition are to think color, texture and taste and to have a food processor and shredder available.
Whole loaf breads, muffins, biscuits, rolls and pancakes are easy targets for covering up light colored vegetables, beans, fruits and nuts. While mixing the batter, simply toss in the minced or pureed food item. For instance, try adding a baked or steamed potato to a pancake or dinner roll batter-adding vitamin C. By adding well-drained applesauce, pureed cantaloupe or mangos to muffin batteryou’re adding vitamin A and dietary fiber to the meal.
For additional nutrition such as fatty acids, linoleic and linolenic acids, which are important for growth, healthy skin, blood pressure control, immune response and blood clotting- substituting 1/2 cup of meal-ed nuts to a bread dough, instead of flour, will surely go unnoticed.
Another easy technique of sneaking nutrition is with beans. Mashing and adding 1 cup cooked, pale colored beans such as white runner, navy and lima beans to a biscuit, bun or cornbread recipe, is a sure-fire hit to slipping folate, iron and potassium in your diet. The texture will be slightly heavier then normal but rich in nutrients.
Cooked, mashed fruit such as apples, pears and peaches may be conveniently added to stews and casseroles for a delicious twist to chicken and pork entrees; therefore, adding essential dietary fiber, vitamins A&C and potassium to your diet.
For a special nutritional bonus, try placing a mashed kiwi in a beef stew. You will have added vitamins C, E & K to your diet. As for sneaking vegetables: 1 cup of shredded carrots into a spaghetti sauce is a great way to increase vitamin A intake.
For more fruit in your diet, try mixing different fruit pectin/juice with iced or hot tea. It’s a great way to treat yourself and your family to a nutritious drink. And if you are tired of the same ole orange juice, squeeze one whole lemon (or lime) into the o/j glass for added vitamin C, B6, iron and potassium.
When making (turkey, beef or pork) meatballs, along with your favorite seasonings, try adding cooked, tender asparagus and sprinkle with minced/meal-ed almonds. Add sparingly to meatballs, then roll and cook. By adding the asparagus, you will have snuck in folic acid, vitamin B6, potassium, thiamin, rutin and glutithiun, not to mention the good source of fiber that it provides. Asparagus is a leader in nutrition and power-packed with benefits.
Nutrition Tip: If somehow you are noticed for sneaking nutrition and eating better, and if someone asks you “What is in there?” be sure and give them your own, nutritious adage: “An (a sneak food) a day keeps the doctor away!”