(BPT) – “You are what you eat” is a phrase you probably heard growing up, and while it’s a broad statement, the overall sentiment holds true: The foods you ingest have the ability to support or detract from your overall health. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to completely overhaul your nutrition. You can make a positive impact to your wellness with some easy updates to how you eat and prepare foods.
Step 1: Wash up every time
Before preparing any food make sure to wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds — approximately the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. Or, go for a line from Queen three times: “We will, we will rock you (rock you).” What’s more, if you’re preparing any fresh produce, make sure it’s been rinsed and washed appropriately. Washing hands and fresh foods helps eliminate dirt, bacteria and germs. That way what you eat is fueling your body with nutrients rather than potentially challenging your immune system.
Step 2: Make healthful food swaps
“The foods we eat fuel our bodies and can support the immune system, so it’s more important than ever to make healthful, wholesome choices,” says Dr. John La Puma, co-founder of ChefMD. “Consider making simple swaps to your everyday diet that will help you prioritize overall wellness and a strong immune system.” For example, Dr. La Puma recommends the following:
* Instead of buying bread or processed snack items, look for whole nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds to boost your fiber and zinc intake.
* Instead of using only salt to season foods, experiment with dried or fresh herbs or even citrus juice and zest from a lemon or orange.
* If you want to sweeten your tea or coffee, try a touch of honey or maple syrup instead of refined sugar.
* Choose heart-healthy oils when needed in recipes, such as extra virgin olive oil.
* Use half the sugar called for in most baking recipes — most are overly sweet.
Dr. La Puma says not to overthink it — something as seemingly simple as the eggs you choose can make a big difference, too. He suggests Eggland’s Best eggs, because compared to ordinary eggs, EB contains more than double the omega-3s and vitamin B12, 10 times more vitamin E and six times more vitamin D. Vitamin B12 is vital to immune cell function and response, and vitamin D helps support a healthy immune system by fighting off harmful bacteria.
Step 3: Drink up with healthy hydration
Nutrients are delivered throughout your body through your bloodstream. Blood is made mostly of water, which is one of the reasons why proper hydration is key for overall wellness and a strong immune system. It can be easy to forget to drink up throughout the day, so try to make a habit of keeping a glass of water nearby as a visual reminder.
Bored with plain water? Don’t be tempted by sugary drinks. Add in some healthy flavor by tossing in some sliced orange, lemon, lime, apple, cucumber or a few berries for a customized drink that is healthy and hydrating. The more frequently you drink water or water-based drinks the less your mind will crave soda and other sugar-packed alternatives.
Step 4: Try new recipes
Trying new recipes keeps healthy eating fresh and interesting, so this is the time to deploy your culinary skills and incorporate new recipes into your meal planning. Need inspiration? Check out this delicious recipe created by Dr. La Puma, packed with nutritious ingredients that support a healthy immune system:
Shiitake Mushroom & Red Bell Pepper Frittata with Smoked Salmon
6 large Eggland’s Best eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces shiitake mushrooms stems minced fine, caps sliced 1/4” wide
6 ounces red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
3 tablespoons milk, preferably almond or oat milk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces smoked salmon, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
Heat a 10-inch skillet with sloped sides over medium heat. Add olive oil; after 30 seconds, add mushroom caps and bell pepper; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Preheat broiler. In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, milk, 1 tablespoon of the thyme, and the salt and pepper. Stir in smoked salmon. Set aside.
Add turmeric and black pepper to the skillet, stirring for a few seconds.
Stop stirring and pour egg mixture into skillet over vegetables; mix well. With a spatula, press vegetables down into an even layer under the egg mixture. Cook without stirring until eggs are set on bottom, about 5 minutes. (Center will be wet.)
Transfer to broiler; broil 4 to 5 inches from heat source 2 minutes or until eggs are set. Cut into wedges. Drop on spoonfuls of yogurt and sprinkle remaining one tablespoon thyme over frittata before serving.
For additional recipe inspiration visit www.egglandsbest.com/recipes.