That’s a great question and one that people don’t often ask. I think many folks would like to believe that if they simply take a supplement, they’re ensuring all the necessary nutrients contained in a healthful diet. Unfortunately they would be incorrect. A healthy diet contains plenty of fruits/vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, low/non-fat dairy and a small amount of healthy fat. Supplements are not substitutes for a healthy diet. We still need to have a nutrient-dense diet to ensure optimal health and fortunately this is easier than most people believe. The key to a healthy diet begins with variety.
As the old saying goes, variety is the spice of life. This holds especially true when it comes to good nutrition. Consuming a variety of foods in each of their respective categories (vegetables, fruit, dairy, grain, and protein) gives us an opportunity to be exposed to a wider array of nutrients. A good place to begin may be to think about all the foods you enjoy (or that you would be willing to try) that fall under each of these categories. Then slowly incorporate those foods into your eating plan. You may find that as you become more aware of what you’re eating, you’re automatically likely to consume less saturated fat, sodium and added sugars-other important features of a healthier diet.
Another way to secure a healthier diet is to volumize with veggies. The thought of eating your vegetables still make a number of us cringe-recalling days gone by where our parents would make us eat our veggies before being excused from the table. It’s no wonder these unpleasant memories have left a bad taste in our mouth (pardon the pun). But as adults, we are a bit more sophisticated and have the ability sneak those veggies into existing dishes to boost the sheer volume of a meal with fewer calories. Soups, stews, stir fries, sandwiches, and even omelets can be volumized with veggies. This is a good technique to not only increase the nutrient density in your diet, but also allow you to continue eating the foods you would normally enjoy.