Easy Ways to Eat Smarter

Too busy to make sure you're eating foods that are good for you? No sweat! Try our low-maintenance approach to healthy eating.
7 Fast, No-Fuss Ways to Eat Smarter

Somewhere along the way, the practice of eating healthy got a reputation for being difficult, time-consuming, and pretty much a pain in the butt. To that we say, Whoa! Eating nutritious meals doesn't have to be work. Our nutrition experts shared their best super-fast, incredibly easy ways to fill up on foods that are good for you.

1. Get sneaky. That is, sneak fruits and vegetables — excellent sources of disease-fighting vitamins, fiber, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals — into the foods you already eat, advises Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD, author of Stealth Health: How to Sneak Nutrition Painlessly into Your Diet. No-brainer ideas include: Top off your morning cereal or yogurt with blueberries, peaches and the like. Add finely chopped carrots, broccoli and kale to pasta sauces, meat loaf, soups and salads. (Hint: Buy them ready-cut at your supermarket.)

2. Experiment with exotic fruits. Think papaya, mango, melon and fresh pineapple. "Tropical fruits are especially potent sources of antioxidants," says Felicia Busch, RD, author of New Nutrition: From Antioxidants to Zucchini.

3. Down some veggies. Another no-fuss way to eat more veggies? "Drink vegetable juice," Busch suggests. Besides offering disease-fighting nutrients, "most vegetable juices are blends, so they provide more unique combinations of vegetables that you might not otherwise eat," says Busch. A varied diet maximizes your body's arsenal of health-promoting nutrients, she says.

4. Milk those calcium moments. Choose calcium-fortified juice instead of the regular version — you'll get as much calcium (300 milligrams) as you would in a glass of milk (bear in mind: milk has more nutrients, particularly vitamin D, which helps absorb calcium). Make oatmeal and other hot cereals with skim milk instead of water, and switch to skinny lattes (2/3 skim milk, 1/3 strong coffee) instead of regular coffee, suggests Tribole.

5. Don't bypass beans at the salad bar. They're an underrated source of disease-fighting fiber, as well as a great source of iron, protein and folate, the last of which is especially important for women of child-bearing age, says Busch. Studies show that a diet high in fiber can even help keep your weight in check. Use canned, rinsed beans in salads, and incorporate them into soups, stews and sauces.

6. Choose fish. "The average American eats fish about once a week," says Busch. But two to three times a week is better — so why not grill some up, or make a fillet in minutes in your broiler pan? Little-known fact: Fish generally takes less time to cook than a boneless chicken breast. And fish, especially coldwater fish like salmon, is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acid, the heart-healthy fat that helps lower LDL (or "bad") cholesterol. "Eating more fish may also reduce your cancer risk," says Busch, "and even lower your blood pressure."

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