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Ingredients For A Healthy Meal
There are no artificial flavors in a healthy meal. There are no artificial colors. The bright oranges and vivid greens are coming from Mother Nature herself, and there is never, ever, anything that will end with the word "doodle" included in the ingredients for a healthy meal. Ever. (If just one person whispers the word carrot-doodle right now, I swear I will show up at your home.)
Ingredients for a healthy meal are fresh whenever possible with extra bonus points if they are organic. If fresh produce is not doable, then opt for flash frozen or canned. (Canned fruits and vegetables do not deserve the really bad rep that they have.) Watch for added sodium or sugar and in the case of fruits, make sure they are packed in water or their own juice rather than heavy syrup.
Select the leanest cuts of meat with little to no visible fat. Buying packages of boneless, skinless chicken will save you time, and in the long run may actually be cheaper. Buy beef that is 85% lean or higher, and mix it with ground chicken or turkey to stretch if further and to additionally lower its fat content.
All breads ...
... and grain products, including breakfast cereal should be whole grain. Read the labels. The word "whole wheat flour" should be listed first, and steer clear of words like "enriched flour"- this is simply white flour with molasses or other coloring to make it appear to be a whole grain product.
Extra virgin olive oil should be included in the ingredients for a healthy meal. It should say extra virgin on the label which means it was made from the first pressing of the olives and is of the highest quality. The flavor of extra virgin olive oil is superior to light olive oil, making it very good for dipping and for creating your own healthier salad dressings. Light olive oil is perfectly fine for cooking with.
Milk, yogurt and cheese should be lower fat, but do not feel that everything has to be skim. Unless your doctor orders you to drink skim milk, 1 or 2% milk is fine. We all need some dietary fat in our diets- and some products are just not as good when they are fat free. Cottage cheese is one that comes quickly to mind on this one.
Juices are a bad idea- it is far too easy to consume too many calories in liquid form and you lose out on some of the fiber that you get from eating fresh fruits. Besides crunching into a beautiful apple is way more satisfying than gulping down a glass of juice.
Chocolate is included in this list of ingredients for a healthy meal because I love it and because it actually is healthy. Dark chocolate has antioxidants- more beneficial antioxidants in fact than a glass of red wine. Savor a one ounce portion at the end of your meal and you can declare yourself in heaven- healthy heaven.
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