Power food’s daily intake critical part of good health

MARQUETTE – With a goal of eating five cups of fruits and vegetables per day, participants for the Healthy Lifestyle Journal: Community Wellness Challenge 2013 are always looking for creative ways to incorporate the five cups into their daily meals.

And Deb Sergey, RD, IC, Supervisor at MGHS Wellness Center, recently offered a list of what she calls “power foods” to continue with the HLJ motto “making the healthy choice, the easy choice.”

“I think it’s important to know what foods pack a wallop,” Sergey said.

She emphasized that stepping out of comfort zones and trying new foods is important. While compiling the list of power foods, Sergey said she aimed for foods that are high in fiber and phytochemicals that are vital for health and can’t be achieved by simply taking a vitamin supplement.

She added that since the HLJ began, there has been a great deal of improvement in participants food choices.

“We had a sharing session at the Marquette site recently and people talked about eating a piece of fruit first thing instead of skipping breakfast, so that’s a step in the right direction.”

She added that they also swapped ideas on how to get creative with fruits and vegetables.

Sergey’s list of power foods include: dark greens, broccoli, onions, tomatoes, avocados, berries and legumes. She also highlighted certain spices such as turmeric, ginger and chili powder that individuals can use liberally to flavor food and which may help cut down the amount of salt used.

“In fact, toss together the combination of foods listed with an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing, and you will have a powerhouse salad!” Sergey said.

She also offered tips on how to add the foods listed above, such as eating broccoli raw with a low fat dip or salsa or mashing some avocado with some plain low fat yogurt and spices for guacamole dip or a sandwich spread.

And there is no better time to try these foods according to Sergey, with March designated as National Nutrition Month. The slogan this year is, “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day,” which Sergey said fits perfectly with the HLJ.

Sergey said there are so many opportunities to eat unhealthy food, it takes some planning to get the right nutrition.

“Taste is important, but I think if you find the right vegetables and fruits and try something new each week, you’ll find ones you really enjoy and gravitate more often to those instead of potato chips.”

She added that people can still join the HLJ challenge at anytime. To learn more about the HLJ or to register, visit www.fitup.org. For more information on National Nutrition Month visit www.eatright.org/nnm/.

Abbey Hauswirth can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 240.