5 Foods to Start Eating Today!

Woman holding bunch of herbs in nutrition article by dietitian Caylin Goodchild.

This year we are focusing on a “Prevention is better than the Cure” approach. And as we all know, proper nutrition, hydration and physical exercise are vital for maintaining physical and mental health and overall well-being. As people who eat a well-balanced diet (combined with exercise, off course) tend to have a stronger immune systems and be at lower risk of chronic illnesses and infectious diseases, we invited dietitian Caylin Goodchild to talk to us about nutrition.

5 Foods to Start Eating Today!

Guest Post by Caylin Goodchild

Sometimes the world of nutrition appears incredibly complicated. People are forever searching for the next best weight-loss product, instead of going back to basics with nutritious meals that include all food groups. This makes healthy eating sustainable, practical and enjoyable!

So here are 5 simple foods to start packing in your grocery trolley:

1. Whole-wheat products

Whole-wheat grain products like bread, rice and pasta are a healthy alternative to refined carbs.

Switching to whole-wheat products is one of your simplest swaps!

Swap white bread for whole-wheat bread, white rice for brown rice, couscous for whole-wheat couscous, cream crackers for Provitas, pasta for whole-wheat pasta. By doing this you add fibre to your food, assist digestion, keep you blood sugar levels more stable, and stay fuller for longer.

Never be scared of carbs! Your body needs them and they are vital for fueling your workout. The acceptable macronutrient distribution range for carbohydrates is 45-65% of carbs daily.

2. Legumes

Legumes like chikpeas, lentils and beans should be part of your daily diet.

Beans, lentils and chickpeas are incredibly nutritious. They provide carbs, protein, fibre and micronutrients. Use them to bulk up mince, add them to salad/curries, or simply enjoy a plant-based meal. Ohio State University found that “consuming chickpeas and/or hummus may help prevent or offset the development and progression of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes”. Whether you are following a plant-based lifestyle or not, these should make a regular appearance on your plate.

3. Fatty fish

Fatty fish Salmon on slate chopping board with asparagus, garlic and shallots by photographer Natalie Field

Fatty fish is a great source of healthy fat, namely omega-3. Types of fatty fish include trout, sardines, salmon, mackerel and pilchards. Fatty fish should be eaten at least twice a week to help decrease the risk of heart disease.

If you struggle to eat fish, then consider taking a fish oil supplement (omega-3 capsule). It has been shown that one-to-three grams of fish oil each day can help reduce the intensity of joint symptoms like morning stiffness, tenderness, swelling and discomfort. The omega-3 fatty acids present in this amount can also increase blood flow throughout the body during exercise, which can help reduce joint pain and swelling (UPMC Orthopaedic Care, 2014).

4. Dark green leafy vegetables

Person holding bunch of dark-green leafy vegetables Kale and Spinach

Spinach, kale and cabbage are great examples of dark green leafy vegetables. These are loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and have a number of health benefits. One of these minerals is iron, which is particularly important for athletes, as their iron losses are around 70% more than sedentary individuals (Gaudiani Clinic, 2018). Put these leafy vegetables to use by adding them to salads, wraps, pitas and stir-fry’s, or as a side to any meal.

5. Eggs

Eggs are high in protein and Vitamin B

Eggs provide high quality protein, at a not-so-high price! Organic and free-range eggs can be especially high in B vitamins, amongst other valuable micronutrients. It has been shown that active individuals lacking in B vitamins may perform worse during high-intensity exercise and have a decreased ability to repair and build muscle than those with nutrient-rich diets (Oregon State University, 2006).

Be mindful about how you serve your eggs though! Eat them alongside healthy foods such as mushrooms, tomatoes, whole-wheat toast and olive oil, instead of sausages, bacon and butter.

guest blogger dietitian caylin goodchild

Caylin Goodchild RD (SA), MSc Diet (NWU)

Caylin Goodchild completed her BSc and Master’s degree in Dietetics at the North-West University. Goodchild is currently enrolled for her PhD, as well as a Diploma in Sports and Exercise Nutrition. She also serves as an Executive Member of the Association for Dietetics in South Africa.
Goodchild practices in Lonehill at Concourse Medical & Dental Centre and at Viva Gym in Fourways Crossing. She sees a variety of clients, from pregnant women, to athletes, but her greatest passion lies in weight loss in young women.

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