When faced with a health challenge, such as trying to lower our cholesterol or lose some weight, we often concentrate on the foods we can’t have or shouldn’t have. After several years of trying to do both of these things I’ve found this is not the best strategy. If you can’t have or shouldn’t have something it only makes you want it that much more. Those are the foods that seem to always be on your mind.

I’ve developed a new strategy. From now on I will concentrate on getting healthful foods into my body on a daily basis. I have a list of superfoods that one could consume for optimum health. This list includes:

Tea

Whole grains

Berries

Yogurt

Nuts

Citrus

Beans

Cruciferous vegetables

Green leafies

Orange vegetables

Red fruits and vegetables

Lean protein

Fish

In addition to incorporating these foods into my life, I plan on being vigilant about portion sizes. Of course I will eat other foods, as eating a wide variety of foods is best. If you focus on which food is good to eat I feel there will be less room for the other foods. Although science still has no concrete evidence about what causes cravings, it is thought that cravings materialize from something we are lacking and unfortunately what we crave doesn’t contain the optimal amounts of those nutrients. Cravings could also be emotional or just plain old habits that are hard to break. If you didn’t notice, these foods are brimming with nutrients, are satisfying and many contain lots and lots of fiber. The list is so great I’m sure you could find a “better for you” substitute for whatever you have a hankering for. A slice of sweet, red, juicy watermelon could calm a sweet craving. A small handful of nuts could calm a crunchy craving, and would satisfy you long before you eat your way through a similar calorie amount of potato chips.

Over the next few weeks I periodically plan to pick these foods apart, touch on why they are so fabulous and share how I incorporated them into my diet and share other ways to do that too.

As a starting point I’ll use my breakfast.

Today I chose green tea which should give my metabolism a little boost. It’s also full of antioxidants. Most boxes of tea today boast about the flavonoid content. These catechins (flavonoid phytochemicals) top even vitamin C, but don’t substitute tea for fruits and veggies because the latter both have a lot of other things to offer that our bodies need. When it comes to sweeteners I usually pass for my tea and coffee because I’ve grown used to drinking it that way, but I like honey in my tea on occasion. If you need to have coffee in the morning then try iced tea at your other meals or a cup of a special tea, such as Earl Grey, as an afternoon boost. Remember that you can choose to brew herbal or fruity teas with your green, black or other tea to give a pleasant flavor therefore cutting down on the sweetener you would add. Don’t forget about lemon and other citrus as tea flavorings as well.

Many days I turn to lean protein, such as egg whites first thing in the morning because it seems to really satisfy, however variety is best. Today it was buckwheat as my cereal of choice. It’s still chilly this morning and hot cereal always warms me up. It takes 10 minutes to cook but I made enough for several days. I sprinkled my cereal with ground flax seed and toasted walnuts. Dried cranberries would have been nice too, but I’m really trying to watch the sugar. If you didn’t already know, buckwheat contains no wheat but is actually triangular seeds from a flowering plant. You may have heard of buckwheat flour for buckwheat pancakes which are more common. I’m talking about the whole grain seeds and have found them in the organic section of larger supermarkets. If you’re not too keen about hot cereal in the morning, or just don’t have the time, you could bake up some whole grain muffins on the weekend, make oatmeal pancakes for supper, or an oatmeal crisp for dessert, with apples or berries and just a touch of sugar.

Because every bone in my body is frugal and coupons are my friends I’m curious to see how this new strategy affects my grocery budget. From other blogs I’ve read I’ve often heard stories about how a switch to whole foods allowed many to spend less, sometimes because they were not filling their carts with a lot of junk food. Other times I’ve heard more was spent because they had purchased many processed filler foods with coupons on previous trips. This will be a challenge for me, to make sure the budget stays the same, and I love a challenge.

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