Healthy Ways to Support Your Immunity

Citrus Bliss Buddha Bowl

With the growing number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in our communities, how to protect yourself from getting sick is in everyone’s search history. Of course, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. For this reason, health professionals advise that we practice social distancing as much as possible right now. Boosting our immune systems so we are less likely to get sick sounds super appealing right now. It’s widely circulating online, and some products and diet plans are being marketed to prevent or cure the Coronavirus. Is it even possible to boost our immune systems? Can we do it by improving our diet and eating certain foods? Are there vitamins or herbal remedies that we should consider? What else can we change in our lifestyle to get our immune systems in tip-top shape? Let’s tackle these questions as we discuss healthy ways to support your immunity.

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Shopping Seasonally at the Supermarket

Shiitake & Button Mushroom Soup

Supermarket shopper expectations are higher than ever. We expect to be able to buy almost any food, anywhere, at any time. And at a low price. In order to retain customers and avoid losing them to aggressive competitors, grocers aim to stock a consistent assortment of fresh foods regardless of season or location. Because most produce is now available year-round, we can lose touch with the seasonality of foods. Let’s discuss some benefits of shopping seasonally and nutritious ways to do this at our local supermarket

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Fresh, Canned & Frozen Vegetables

Green Beans Fresh

I’ve led my fair share of healthy shopping tours. While walking through the aisles of the supermarket, I explain the Guiding Stars program and how it helps shoppers identify more nutritious choices. One of my favorite things to point out is that you can find the best nutritional value in fresh, canned, and frozen produce. I select an obviously nutritious product like fresh green beans then show canned and frozen versions in the store that also earn our best score: 3 Guiding Stars. If a tour group is focused on eating better on a budget, I’ll note the varying unit prices among the three forms. Through this exercise, I discuss some key factors to consider when deciding between fresh, canned and frozen vegetables. I also want to share those here, in our latest edition of Surprising Stars.  

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Why Don’t More Yogurts Earn Stars?

Creamy Garlic Pasta with Shrimp & Vegetables

If you have ever looked at the dairy case in the supermarket, you know that there are a lot of options for yogurt. If you were to shop one of our client’s stores you might be surprised by the lack of Guiding Stars-earning yogurts. This is not to say that their assortment is less nutritious than their competitors, but rather that the sweeteners added to yogurt have a negative effect on nutrient density. In fact, just 20% of yogurts earn Guiding Stars due in large part to added sugars. 

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Choose Dark Chocolate

Cherry Chunk Overnight Oats

Choose 70% dark chocolate or higher to get the most flavanols. I will caution that chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa solids are more bitter and less sweet. You can add sweetness to your snack or treat with natural sugars from fresh or dried fruit. Add nuts to your chocolate and fruit for a satisfying crunch and a source of healthy fat and protein.

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Mix in Whole Grains

Herbed Chicken Nuggets

It’s January, which means it is New Year’s resolution season. You probably have heard coworkers, friends, and family talk about which foods they are cutting out of their diet in order to get back on track after the holiday season. I want to give a gentle nudge during this time of increased attention on what and how we choose to eat: let’s try to focus on eating more nutritious foods rather than trying to stop eating foods or entire good groups altogether, like grains. It may sound better to phrase a goal as trying to eat more of something rather than eat less, but I promise it’s not just semantics. Smaller, incremental change is more feasible and supports long-term success. 

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