Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Eat Often!

This is the third of four installments of the Men's Health Abs Diet. Now, to catch you up, the diet is intended for helping build your abs but in general I believe it to be an excellent guide of what types of foods to eat and what types of foods to avoid. The Eat Rarely! section was full of foods that are loaded with calories that, even though they are quite tasty, can destroy any sensible meal plan. The Eat Occasionally! section had some foods that were unhealthy if eaten in regularly.

Now is the Eat Often! section, foods that if you eat every day you won't be doing a bad thing.

Eat Often: apples, asparagus, avocados, bananas, brown rice, Canadian bacon, canola oil, citrus fruits and juice, corn, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts), edamame, eggplant.

Easily my favorite and preferred snack at any time of the year is an apple. When I'm hungry, there is no more refreshing fruit or vegetable or whatever that I can put in my mouth than an apple. And they are quite healthy, as an average apple has around 70 calories and more than three grams of fiber. An apple as an a.m. snack and one for p.m. snack might seem mundane but it's really not. That's almost seven grams of fiber right there, about a fourth of what you need per day, and it tastes very good. Avocados, while I don't like them, are also beneficial as they have beneficial monounsaturated fats and are loaded with potassium, folate and fiber: one cup of sliced avocados has 234 calories, 9.8 grams of fiber and only 10mg of sodium. Can't beat that.

Eat Often (cont): flaxseed, fruit (dried), fruit juices (no sugar added), game (lean meats like ostrich), garlic, lentils, melons, mushrooms, nut butters (such as almond and cashew), onions.

You don't need to convince me to add garlic and onions to my meals. I can't imagine not having them as part of my diet. I eat them daily. Nut butters give you an infusion of protein along with flavor and can be a good alternative to canola and olive oils... not that there's anything wrong with those two but a change of pace can be nice.

Eat Often (cont): pasta (whole wheat w/tomato sauce and vegetables), peaches, peanut oil, peas, peppers, pita (whole wheat), popcorn (fat free), potatoes (baked, sweet or white), prunes, pumpkin seeds.

I've been on a pepper kick lately. I love to throw them on my sandwiches or in with some chorizo or whatever sort of meat dish I'm making. They make most any dish taste better and have lots of carbs, fiber and protein.

Eat Often (cont): ricotta cheese (part skim), salsa, sesame oil, shellfish and bivalves (steamed or baked), soup (broth-based), sunflower seeds, tea, tofu, tomatoes, vegetable juice, wine (1-2 glasses a day).

The last part of this list features tomatoes, which I like but can't get to quickly enough, and salsa, also something I enjoy. I'm going to try and use more salsa in my dishes soon, sort of how I've incorporated the peppers. Salsa, according to my diet cheat sheet, is the ultimate condiment as it has lots of nutrients and not a lot of calories.

Well, there is the list. I'd say the items on here that I don't eat enough of are the different kinds of oils (I'd really like to get some nut and sesame oils), baked sweet potatoes (I love sweet potatoes and don't know why I don't eat them more often), asparagus and broccoli. I may have to try and gradually add them to my diet to maximize the good things these foods have to offer.

Abs diet or no, it just makes sense.

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