Eat Colorfully // Let Life Happen

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What’s on the menu for this blog:

  • Nutrient Density
  • A yummy recipe idea
  • Pushing forward through whatever life throws your way!

First off:

Let’s talk nutrient density.

This topic has come up a lot lately in my conversations with people. Mainly when I’m cooking around my family members and they want to judge me for putting spinach in my tacos or adding some zucchini ribbons to my whole grain pasta.

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The truth is, not only are these dishes I’m making delicious, but they are full of nutrients. And that’s what eating well is all about… getting the nutrients our bodies need.

For those reading that don’t know what nutrient density is, it explains the amount of nutrients you get from a food, given the amount of calories (energy) the food contains. An example could be the difference between eating a salad made with spinach as opposed to a salad made with iceberg lettuce. Spinach is a leafy green that contains high levels of many vitamins including, but not limited to, vitamins K, A, E, B1, folate, iron, magnesium, fiber, etc. Whereas iceberg lettuce also contains many vitamins, but not in as high of amounts as spinach.

We can easily help our friends and family get more nutrients in their daily diets. It’s all about a little switch-a-roo or two. For instance, I made these delicious vegetarian tacos with:

  • Seasoned chickpeas – full of protein, vitamin K, folate, iron, magnesium, vitamin B6 (seasoned with ground cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, and fresh cilantro)
  • Sauteed bell peppers – high in vitamin C, K, E, A, folate, potassium
  • Tomatoes – loaded with vitamin C, lycopene, beta-carotene (aka antioxidants)
  • Raw spinach – packed with vitamins K, A, E, B1, folate, iron, magnesium, niacin, riboflavin, potassium
  • Avocado – rich with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins C, E, K, B6, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid
  • Feta Cheese – for a little extra flavor and protein

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Just look at alllll those colorful nutrients in one meal. It’s a simple switch from meat and cheese only, to flavorful nutrient-dense veggies and legumes. Now, we don’t even need to go that far. We can do easy switches like white rice and pasta to whole grain rice and pasta, or even adding veggies to our eggs or toast in the morning. I believe understanding nutrient density is a huge step to understanding how to eat a more balanced diet. Eat colorfully, and don’t be afraid to eat foods you wouldn’t normally think go together. You’d be surprised at what you can create.

Next:

Let’s get a little serious.

A lot of us start the new year off with goals, aspirations and resolutions. What are some things that you told yourself you would change for the better? What are some goals you wish to reach by the end of the year? And realistically, do you ever plan for life to happen between these goals?

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I bring this up because a lot of us, as students (and even not as students), run on a schedule. We have to juggle many things at a time. Some of us work full-time, have families, take care of someone else, may not have the best home-life, have trouble sleeping, have chronic pain or other health issues, YOU NAME IT! Some of us may have all of this going on, ON TOP OF a full-time school schedule. I think that things outside of our school realm aren’t talked about enough. And the truth is, sometimes it is just so insanely hard to balance it all. Not only are our day-to-day tasks and obligations sometimes hard to balance, but every once in a while, life throws you a curveball.

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I wanted to open this topic up to reinforce that we must be aware that most things in life are unknown. We can be on perfect track, have the perfect idea of what is going to happen for us, think we know exactly where we’ll be 2 years from now, but in reality, things can change in a split second. I think it is important for us to not deter from our goals and aspirations, but to realize that once in a while we may need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and reassess what we need to do at certain points.

Instances may pop up that we do not expect…

You may get injured, you may lose a job, a family member or friend may pass, you may suddenly have to move out or move away, etc. It’s very important to remind ourselves that change is inevitable and it is how we react to our situations and our surroundings that will get us to where we need to be.

Every time life throws you a curve, you should step back, reevaluate, and choose a necessary new course. Life is constant change; we just have to learn how to ride the waves.

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Lastly:

Whether your goal is to eat more veggies, run a marathon, travel to space, adventure the world, open your own business, whatever it may be… just remember:

You’ve. Got. This.

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