12 Tiny Expert-Backed Changes for Your Diet
You've got healthy snacks and meals down pat, but these simple food swaps from nutrition experts will make your diet even more nutritious
Not every diet change has to feel like a total life overhaul (we're looking at you, Paleo diet). Even little tweaks-ones that literally require next to no effort-can make a difference in your day-to-day nutrition, helping you look, feel, and perform better. Try one or more of these upgrades from nutritionists, chefs, coaches, and authors. (For more healthy eating hacks, download the latest special edition of our digital magazine-free!)
Crack an Egg in Your Oatmeal
"I add my oats and water to a small pot, bring to a boil, and crack an egg in the middle. I make sure to stir continuously as the oats and egg are cooked, before adding almond milk and cinnamon. You can't taste the egg, and it adds an awesome dose of protein and healthy fat!" -Gina Harney, healthy living blogger and author of HIIT IT!
Cook Grains in Fresh Orange Juice
"Cook grains like brown rice, quinoa, or freekeh in fresh orange juice (or part orange juice/part water or broth) to punch up flavor, fragrance, and flavonoids. Add some orange zest for extra zip, color, and limonene, which has potential anti-cancer benefits." -Jackie Newgent, R.D., author of The With or Without Meat Cookbook (Love cooking with grains like quinoa? Try 10 New Ways to Eat Quinoa.)
Add Spinach to Canned Soup
"Add a few handfuls of pre-washed baby spinach into canned or boxed soup as you heat it up. Spinach has potassium that helps balance out the sodium in the soup, and the hint of greens adds freshness and flavor." -Samantha Cassetty, M.S., R.D., Vice President, Nutrition at Luvo
"To help decrease joint pain and help speed up post-workout recovery, try adding turmeric to some egg whites or a post workout smoothie." -Heather Bauer, R.D. (Did you know turmeric is one of 2015's biggest healthy eating trends? Check out The 9 Biggest Nutrition Trends of 2015 to see the rest.)
Add Flaxseed Meal to Your Breakfast
"Add 1 to 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal to your breakfast. It works in cold or hot cereal, yogurt, smoothies, and even scrambled eggs. The healthy fat is a potent anti-inflammatory and the fiber feeds the healthy flora in your gut." -USANA Health Sciences consultant Susan M. Kleiner, R.D., Ph.D.
Buy Sprouted Grains
"Try breads and tortillas made from sprouted whole grains. Sprouted grains are easier to digest, and your body can absorb their nutrients more easily." -Pamela Salzman, chef and certified holistic health counselor (You can eat carbs and lose weight at the same time-all it takes is choosing the right ones! Check out The Best Carbs For Weight Loss.)
Add Kale to Your Smoothie
"Add a handful of kale to your breakfast smoothie to increase vitamins, antioxidants and fiber." -Felice Kosakavich, Chief Clinical Dietician and Nutritionist at New York's Cassena Care
Put Down That Fork
"It takes just a second but will help you eat more slowly and more mindfully." -Torey Jones Armul, M.S., R.D.
Make Enough for Leftovers
"Always cook extra when you make whole grains like oats, quinoa, brown rice, or barley. When you get time-pressed, you can use the extra servings for breakfasts, lunches, or dinners." -Jim White, R.D., owner and president of Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios. (Need healthy recipe ideas for those leftovers? Check out The Best, Most Delicious Healthy Cookbooks of the Year.)
Swap Flour for Almond Meal
"Bake with almond meal instead of whole-wheat flour. It adds a delicious nutty flavor, as well as healthy fats, fiber, and protein to your baked goods." -Gina Harney, healthy living blogger and author of HIIT IT!
Poach Chicken in Green Tea
"When you're making chicken for chicken salad, poach it in jasmine green tea. It provides a lovely scent to the finished dish-and adds catechins that promote cell health and may play a tiny role in weight loss efforts!" -Jackie Newgent, R.D., author of The With or Without Meat Cookbook (Green tea is said to be a metabolism-booster, along with these 11 Ways to Rev Up Your Metabolism.)
Add Parmesan Cheese
"More than 70 percent of adults fall short on their calcium requirements. Help close the gap by sprinkling parmesan cheese, which has 85 milligrams (mg) of calcium in a 2 tablespoon serving, into soups and salads." -Samantha Cassetty, M.S., R.D., Vice President, Nutrition at Luvo