Minerals are critical to normal body function; they are not produced in the body and must be obtained through the food we eat and by proper supplementation. The BIG 4 includes calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. Calcium and magnesium help build healthy bones, especially important for stress prevention (such as stress fractures). Sodium and potassium are important in maintaining proper fluid balance (electrolytes) and muscle functioning. Good sources of these nutrients include dairy products, green leafy vegetables, beans/lentils, fish, nuts/seeds, whole grains, bananas, potatoes, beets, oranges, and peppers.
■ Organic fruits and vegetables
■ Beans and lentils (also known as legumes)
■ Unrefined whole grains (some examples include 100% whole grain bread, brown rice, unprocessed oatmeal such as steel-cut oats, and barley).
■ Sodas (both sweetened and diet)
■ Baked goods (cakes, cookies, etc.) made with white flour
■ White bread
■ Sugary breakfast cereals (including instant oatmeal)
■ White rice and pasta
■ Junk food
■ French fries and potato chips
■ Lean meats (beef, chicken, pork, lamb, and fish)
■ Organic dairy products (such as cheese and plain yogurt)
■ Raw nuts (avoid peanuts)
■ Natural nut butter (peanut and almond butter)
■ Fermented soy products (such as miso, tamari, and tempeh)
■ Legumes (beans, peas and lentils)
BREAKFAST FOOD LIST AND MEAL IDEAS
● Fresh fruit — whole fruit like apples, banana, oranges, clementines, pears, nectarines
and peaches are easy to grab and go
● Frozen fruit — keep a bag or two in your freezer to use in smoothies or to mix with a light yogurt
● Canned fruit — try individualized cups of mandarin oranges, peaches or fruit cocktail (canned in juice, not syrup)
● Dried fruit — raisins, dried cranberries, etc. are great in oatmeal or mixed with nuts
● Quick oats — in single serving packs or a bulk container (quick oats can be ready in less than 2 minutes)
● 100% whole wheat bread or English muffins
● Unsweetened whole grain or bran cereal
● Unsalted nuts — try dry roasted walnuts, pecans, almonds, peanuts or a mix
● Peanut butter and/or almond butter will keep you feeling full, from the combination of protein and fat
Eggs & Dairy
● Eggs or egg substitute — they cook quickly and can be ready in a matter of minutes
● Skim or 1% milk — soymilk or almond milk (PERSONAL FAV) are also good options, especially for those with a lactose intolerance
● Light/nonfat yogurt (regular or Greek) — plain is best, flavored varieties will have more carbohydrate
● Cottage cheese — try 1% or 2% lowfat cottage cheese to cut back on the calories
● Frozen peppers and onions — you can add these to egg sandwiches, wraps or omelets
● Fresh tomatoes — these also go well with egg sandwiches or cut them up cottage cheese
QUICK BREAKFAST IDEAS
- In a microwave safe bowl, crack an egg and whisk with 1 tablespoon of milk. Sprinkle
in some garlic powder and ground pepper. Cook mixture in the microwave for about one minute or until eggs are cooked through. Top with 1 tablespoon of salsa and sprinkle with a tablespoon of reduced fat cheese. Have with a slice of whole-grain toast topped with trans-free margarine and/or a small piece of fruit
- Use the microwave method above to scramble an egg. When done, wrap the egg in a whole wheat tortilla with some sliced bell peppers and tomatoes. Top with a dash of hot sauce, wrap in foil and bring with you on the go.
- Breakfast can be as simple as peanut butter and toast. Toast a slice of 100% whole
wheat bread or an English muffin. Top with 12 tablespoons of natural peanut butter or almond butter. You could also top with some apple or banana slices if it works with your meal plan.
- Don't want to fuss with the blender? Make a yogurt parfait instead. In a dish, layer 1⁄2
cup nonfat yogurt, 1⁄2 cup berries , and some chopped pecans.
- Portion out 1⁄2 cup of cottage cheese and mix in 1⁄2 cup canned peaches. If you don't like peaches, try another fruit like pineapple, raspberries, blueberries. Add a small handful of nuts on the side if desired.
BREAKFAST IDEAS ON THE GO
There may be days when fast food is your only option in the morning. Luckily, many restaurants now offer healthier choices. Here are some good options to look for:
● Oatmeal is a popular item on breakfast menus now. Order it and mix in some fresh or dried fruit and nuts.
● Try an egg and cheese breakfast sandwich or wrap. Add extra veggies if possible and skip the bacon and sausage.
With the breakfast ideas think this: More Fruit and Veggies less meat. Believe me... I know how hard it can be to skip the breakfast sausage or bacon BUT we have more important goals to achieve.
LUNCH FOOD LIST AND MEAL IDEAS
● Fresh vegetables – baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, snap peas and precut vegetables are quick to pack
● You can also buy whole vegetables like broccoli, bell peppers and celery; chop them up when you get home to use throughout the week on sandwiches, wraps or salads
● Fresh mixed greens or spinach – pile onto sandwiches, wraps or use in salads
● Frozen vegetables – try those you can steam in the package; a great idea if you've got a microwave available to you during the day
● Whole fruit like apples, bananas, oranges, clementines, pears, nectarines, grapes or
peaches – these are easy to grab and go
● Canned fruit (canned in juice, not syrup) try individual serving cups or cans of mandarin oranges, peaches or fruit cocktail
● 100% whole wheat bread, pitas, and/or wraps – if you're trying to cut back on carbohydrate, consider a low carb version
● Quinoa or quick cooking barley
● Canned tuna
● Reduced sodium canned beans
● Reduced sodium lean deli meat – try roasted turkey, chicken or roast beef
● Rotisserie chicken – buy a whole chicken and use it throughout the week
● Eggs – hard boil these ahead of time
● Unsalted nuts/nut mix
● Skim or 1% milk – soymilk or almond milk are also good options, especially for those
with a lactose intolerance
● Light yogurt or nonfat Greek yogurt plain is best, flavored varieties will have more carbohydrate
● Cottage cheese – try 1% or 2% lowfat cottage cheese to cut back on the calories
Some Extras for Flavor
● Light salad dressing
● Olive oil/Balsamic vinegar
● Lime and/or lemon juice
Quick Lunch Ideas
- Try 4-5 hard boiled eggs with a piece of fruit, string cheese and 5-10 whole wheat crackers.
You could also add some carrots, celery sticks and peanut butter.
- Try a quick yogurt parfait with nonfat plain Greek yogurt, diced pineapple, peaches
and a handful of pecans on the side.
- Make a tuna salad with canned tuna, light mayo, diced celery, lemon juice and freshly
- Fill a whole wheat tortilla wrap with rotisserie chicken. Add a side of fruit if it fits with your plan.
DINNER FOOD LIST AND MEAL IDEAS
EAT WHAT YOUR PARENTS COOK!!! Here are some ideas IF you have to cook for yourself or just want to help your folks out every once in a while! They’ll appreciate you wanting to help…
● Frozen vegetables – keep a few of your favorites in the freezer
● Fresh vegetables – keep some basic salad ingredients like greens, a few tomatoes, a cucumber, and a bell pepper
● Reduced sodium canned tomatoes are great for adding to pasta, casseroles, and more
● Other canned vegetables that you like such as artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, etc.
● Reduced sodium canned beans – choose from black, kidney, navy, garbanzo and more
● Quinoa, quick cooking whole barley, whole grain pasta, whole-wheat couscous
● Precooked brown rice – all you need to do is heat it up in the microwave
● Whole wheat tortillas or corn tortillas
● Rotisserie chicken – use it throughout the week in salads, pasta, sandwiches, or tacos
● Frozen fish filets
● Frozen chicken breasts
● Fresh fruit makes a good side at dinner or even a dessert
● Keep some berries or grapes around which are easy to wash and serve in a bowl
● Canned fruit – choose varieties canned in juice, not syrup
● Lemons and limes – juice from these citrus fruits makes a great flavoring for vegetables, fish or chicken
● Skim or 1% milk – unsweetened soymilk or almond milk are also options, especially for
● Light/nonfat yogurt (regular or Greek) – note that flavored varieties will have more carbohydrate than plain
● Trans free margarine
● Olive oil/Balsamic vinegar
● Various spices and dried herbs/Minced garlic (jarred)
● Light salad dressing and Salsa
● Salt and pepper/
● Nuts – add to salads and other vegetable dishes
QUICK DINNER IDEAS
- Defrost frozen fish filet in the fridge the night before you plan to use them. Brush the fish lightly with olive oil and season with freshly ground pepper and other dried herbs. Bake the fish in the oven until done and serve with 1⁄2 cup of precooked brown rice and steamed green beans.
- Make a salad for your entrée. Chop up your favorite non starchy vegetables and serve them over a bed of greens. Add some rotisserie chicken breast, cottage cheese, or another reduced fat cheese. Have your salad with a side of whole wheat garlic bread or some fresh fruit.
- Try chicken tacos. Use rotisserie chicken or defrost and roast up some frozen chicken.
Fill corn or whole wheat tortilla with shredded chicken, tomatoes, lettuce, fresh cilantro, and black beans. If you want, top it all with a spoonful of salsa and some nonfat plain Greek yogurt.
- Stir fry is another easy option! Keep a frozen vegetable stir fry medley in your freezer. Sauté on the stove with vegetable oil. Add some frozen shrimp or heated chicken and serve over brown rice, quinoa, or whole farro.
- In the morning, toss some canned beans, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, and frozen corn in a crockpot with some cumin, chili powder, and garlic. Cover and cook on low for 68 hours to make a chili that will be ready when you get home. You can also add other vegetables that you have on hand like diced onions, bell pepper, or carrots.
- Try pasta primavera (vegetables with pasta). Add frozen vegetables to pasta during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain the water and then toss with two tablespoons of light salad dressing and cooked diced chicken. Or, toss in pasta sauce if you prefer a red sauce.