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It’s the most wonderful time of the year…National Nutrition Month! While there are many roads to nutrition and good health, we’ve compiled some of our favorite tips, tricks, and hacks to make eating well as easy as pie…with a whole grain crust, of course.

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To celebrate #NationalNutritionMonth, we’re answering your nutrition questions throughout March. Comment below or find us on social media to #AskOldways your healthy eating questions.

Seven Super-Simple Healthy Eating Hacks

1. Stock the Kitchen. Healthy cooking is easiest when you have most basic ingredients on hand. Our Kitchen Guide lays out all the staples you need in your kitchen — seasonings, oils, frozen goods, and foods that come in cans, jars, and boxes. Keep a running list on the fridge of perishable items, ingredients for specific recipes, and any special treats. See our Kitchen Stocking Guide here.

2. Think Less, Cook More, Feel Great. For those that want a clear-cut plan for a healthy diet, follow the Oldways Cart weekly meal plan. The Cart’s shopping list and recipes for two people gives you the tools you need to savor a healthy diet. Follow the Cart for a week, then spice it up by trying different varieties of beans, leafy greens, and so on. Remember, if your cart looks like the Oldways Cart, the nutrients take care of themselves. Get your free download of the Oldways Cart here.

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3. Sample Whole Grains. Whole grains have long been praised for their role in cholesterol management and heart health, but new research shows even greater benefits of whole grains. A large Harvard University study found that those with the highest intake of whole grains had a 17% lower risk of death from all causes compared to those who ate the least whole grains. Try new grains and celebrate your favorites on Whole Grain Sampling Day March 30. Find out what events are happening near you.

4. Healthify Your Snacks. Keep a bowl of fresh, seasonal fruit or mixed nuts on your desk or kitchen counter. What you see is what you eat, so make sure that your counters are laden with the good-for-you stuff (that means no stray chip bags or candy jars). When healthy foods look inviting and easily catch the eye, you’ll be more likely to eat them. Plus, they make great portable snacks if you’re on the go. Learn more tips for healthy snacking here.

5. Bonus Snack Attack Hack: Spoon hummus or bean dip into the bottom of a glass Mason jar, then layer cut veggies (like bell pepper strips, snap peas, or carrot sticks) on top.

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6. Plan Today, Thank Yourself Tomorrow. Meal prep can mean the difference between a healthy home-cooked meal or a night of take-out. Meal planning can be as intense or relaxed as you want. Start by picking one day to chop all of your veggies for an upcoming stir fry, or remembering to soak beans for a stew or salad. For über-simple meal prep, follow the Oldways Cart. Here’s some more tips:

  • Count how many meals you’ll need for the week and choose recipes accordingly.
  • Get shopping and chopping out of the way on your designated meal-prep day to stave off the evening hanger during the week.
  • Consider serving sizes — recipes often make four to six servings, which translates to dinner and left-over lunches for a couple, or food for days for a single chef. Try freezing some dishes for long-term meal stocking, too.
  • Choose a variety of “real foods” and you won’t be counting calories or macro-nutrients.

7. Don’t Desert Dessert. Although most desserts are nutritionally empty, tweaking the ingredients can add necessary fiber, vitamins, and minerals into these special treats. Make some of our favorite nutritious dessert recipes. Here are three dessert hacks for all our sweet teeth:

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    Try swapping 50% of the all-purpose flour in a recipe with whole wheat flour — you’ll hardly notice the difference. When going 100% whole grain, start with easily adaptable recipes like cookies and scones, or rich foods like chocolate or spice cakes. Substituting a few teaspoons of the liquid with orange juice tempers the flavor of whole wheat for those that aren’t used to the richer taste.
  • Use fruit as the main source of sweetener and see how much added sugar you can omit. Granitas, smoothies, and frozen desserts can be sweetened with citrus fruits or berries, while baked goods can be sweetened partly with apple juice, dates, bananas, raisins, or prunes.
  • Opt for nuts and healthy oils to swing the nutrition pendulum in the right direction. Applesauce, Greek yogurt, avocado, peanut butter, and olive oil all help contribute to the texture and moisture that you expect from desserts, while also delivering beneficial nutrients.

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