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New foods for a new year

One of the easiest ways to stay motivated to eat healthy is to keep it exciting. I encourage you to try one new food every time you visit the grocery store.

When I do grocery store tours, I repeatedly ask the customer, "Have you tried this?" and I am shocked by how many times I hear the word "no." No wonder people think that eating healthy is boring if they never try new things.

Here are some new, healthy foods I would recommend you add to your grocery list:

Produce

Open your eyes to new fruits and vegetables in the produce department. It’s citrus season right now. Explore new options beyond navel oranges.

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How about Cara Cara oranges (NuVal 100) instead? You will love their dark pink flesh and extra-sweet taste.

Tangelos (NuVal 99) can be a fun change of pace, too. This fruit is a cross between a tangerine and grapefruit.

I also suggest trying the largest member of the citrus family: a pummelo. This fruit is a distant relative of the grapefruit and scores a 99 on the NuVal scoring system.

More new fruit ideas include pomegranate (NuVal 91) or starfruit (NuVal 100). Both are beautiful additions to a fresh fruit salad.

My new favorite vegetable is kale (NuVal 99). Kale has a mild cabbage flavor and can be used in a variety of ways. I usually add it to soup (it holds up so much better than spinach) or saute it with minced garlic and olive oil, but you can even bake it into a chip (your kids will be so impressed!).

Dairy

The biggest dairy trend right now is Greek yogurt. This product is strained to remove the excess liquid and results in a thick, creamy texture.

The nutritional benefit of Greek yogurt is that it provides twice the protein of regular yogurt. Protein helps you feel full longer, so it’s an excellent snack idea for those who struggle with appetite control.

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Plain Greek yogurt (NuVal 93) can be used as a substitute for sour cream in recipes (homemade dips, mashed potatoes, etc.) or topped with fresh fruit and granola for a healthy snack.

Seafood

The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least two times per week. How do you measure up?

Suggestions for increasing your fish intake: pack a tuna salad sandwich for lunch, bake a salmon fillet with lemon pepper or cook up some fish tacos with lots of lime juice and cilantro. 

Whole grains

Try quinoa (NuVal 91). Better yet, try a colored quinoa. Choose from black, red and white quinoa.

Quinoa can be prepared on the stove top, in a rice cooker, or even in the microwave. Add extra flavor to the grain by cooking with stock instead of water or by adding diced vegetables and fresh herbs.

Seeds

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Most of you have heard of flax seed by now, but how about chia seeds?

Remember the chia pets of the early 1990s? These are the seeds that grew those interesting furry pets.

Chia seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fats and can be added to baked goods, oatmeal, yogurt or even your favorite homemade meatball recipe.

Nuts

Swap out your peanut butter for almond butter next time you are craving a PB&J sandwich. You will increase your NuVal score from 20 (regular peanut butter) to 48 (Blue Diamond homestyle creamy almond butter).

Incorporate four of these foods into a new healthy dinner idea: Curry-rubbed tilapia, sauteed kale and a quinoa/vegetable pilaf.

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