There’s definitely no shortage of specialty diet advice available — whether you’re on a low-carb, low-fat, gluten-free, vegetarian or macrobiotic diet, you can find a book to give you the goods on how to do it right. But what do you do when you really want to start with the basics? That’s where Nutrition Diva’s Secrets for a Healthy Diet comes in.
Written by Monica Reinagel, host of the popular Nutrition Diva podcasts, this book walks you through each section of the grocery store and meal of the day, giving you tips as you go on how to make healthy, easy choices. You’ll find out which produce is in season when, how to choose a non-dairy milk, what the different labels on meat packaging mean, and how to build a perfect smoothie. Everything is kept readable and simple — you’ll get the info you need, but won’t get bogged down. Finally, there are shopping lists and a collection of simple recipes at the back of the book that let you put what you’ve learned into action.
Here are some tips, adapted from Nutrition Diva’s Secrets for a Healthy Diet, on making good choices when you eat out or order food in:
Chinese: Stay away from fried dishes and heavy sauces, and watch out for large portion sizes. Look for dishes like wonton soup or steamed entrees with light sauce, and ask for less oil and extra vegetables.
Mexican: Avoid anything smothered in cheese, which also means smothered in fat and calories, and be aware that taco salad isn’t necessarily healthy because it has “salad” in the name. Looked for grilled meats and consider veggie fajitas. Fresh salsa is a great option for sauce.
Indian: Many dishes here will have fried food or creamy sauces, so stay away from samosas, pakoras and words like “korma”. Consider a tandoori or tikka dish or something lentil-based, like soup.
Sushi: Sushi can be very healthy, but there are still pitfalls on the menu at your favourite Japanese place. Avoid too much white rice and stick to fresh fish and vegetables. Start with a miso soup to fill yourself up more easily on less calories.
Delis: Hot sandwiches are often high in fat, so go for something with lots of fresh veggies, on whole-grain bread. Choose leaner meats like turkey and watch it with creamy dressings and spreads.
Fast food: If it’s double decker, leave it alone. Consider a grilled chicken sandwich, or even a veggie burger, and go for a side other than fries.
Italian and pizza: Avoid cream-based sauces for pasta and go with something with fresh veggies instead. Get your pizza on a thin crust, and go light on cheese, and have a fresh salad on the side.