Smorgasbord Health Column – A basic shopping list for a nutritionally balanced diet.

I like to share this list periodically as we move through the various health posts. This is a basic list of what we should all be including in our diet on a weekly basis. This provides the body with the raw ingredients it needs to process and produce nutrients in the format that it can absorb easily and efficiently.

The body from our saliva and teeth to our gut is set up like a conveyor belt and considering it has been at this for a hundred thousand years, give or take 10,000, all we need to do is keeping putting in the right stuff in moderate amounts.

I have split this post into two so that you have this shopping list and in the next post all the nutrients the body requires.

Vegetables – carrots, red peppers, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, corn on the cob- any dark cabbage or Brussel sprouts, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, watercress, dark lettuce leaves, cucumbers, celery, avocados and potatoes. (any other fresh seasonal produce you enjoy)  At least five or six portions a day – use a cupped handful as an estimated portion size.

Lower Fructose Fruit – Bananas, kiwi, strawberries and any dark berries that are reasonably priced – try frozen. Enjoy all fruit in season at least three portions a day.

Hot lemon and water first thing in the morning will not only give you a Vitamin C hit, start your digestive process off but will also help with sugar cravings.

Wholegrains – brown rice- wholegrain bread – whole wheat pasta – weetabix – shredded wheat – porridge oats.Please do not buy sugar or chocolate covered cereals – more sugar than goodness. Carbohydrates are an important food group.  However, as we get older and less active you really only need a large spoonful of rice or potatoes on a daily basis. if you suffer from a Candida overgrowth be aware that it may not be the yeast in bread that causes a problem but the sugar or its substitute.

Fish – Salmon fresh and tinned- cod – haddock (again frozen can be a good option) any white fish on offer – shellfish once a week such as mussels. Tinned sardines, Tuna and herrings – great for lighter meals. (any fish that is available fresh not from farmed sources)

Meat and poultry chicken or turkey – lamb, beef and pork. Lean ham for sandwiches, (processed meats should be used sparingly) Venison if you enjoy it. Liver provides a wonderful array of nutrients served with onions and vegetables is delicious.  Tofu for vegetarians has become more accessible and can be used by non vegetarians once a week to provide the other benefits of soya it offers.  Bacon once a week is fine but do bear in mind that most processed meats contain a lot of salt.  (any unprocessed meat or poultry is good but be aware of the sauces you put on them and your cooking method – grill or roast and drain off excess fats)

Nuts and seeds – to put on your cereal in the mornings or as snacks – check prices out in your health food shop as well as supermarket. Almonds, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts.

Dairy and Eggs- Milk, butter and cheese (better to have the real stuff than whipped margarine) – yoghurt.  Free Range Eggs – have at least three or four a week.

Oils – Extra virgin Olive Oil (least processed) – great drizzled on vegetables with some seasoning and also eaten the Spanish way with balsamic vinegar on salads and also drizzled over toasted fresh bread. If you do not like the taste of Olive Oil then use Sunflower oil – do not use the light version of any oil as it has been processed heavily – use the good stuff.

Honey and extrasYou really do need to avoid sugars refined and in cakes, sweets and biscuits but honey is a sweetener that the body has been utilising since the first time we found a bee hive and a teaspoon in your porridge is okay. Try and find a local honey to you. Dark chocolate – over 70% a one or two squares per day particularly with a lovely cup of Americano coffee is a delicious way to get your antioxidants.

Sauces – If you buy your sauces in jars and packets they will have a great many more ingredients than you bargained for.  One of the worst is sugar or its substitutes.  The greatest cooking skill you can develop is to be able to make a wide variety of sauces from scratch.  If you do this you will be not only using fresh produce with its nutritional punch but also taking hundreds of pounds of sugar out of your diet over a lifetime.

Fluids- Green Tea and other herbal teas, tap and mineral water, coffee (not instant but ground coffee) Good quality alcohol in moderation Black tea also has antioxidants so drink a couple of cups a day.  Try with sliced lemon and get some Vitamin C. (depending on the climate and altitude at which you live you will need to experiment to find out how much fluid you need. If you have very low humidity you will need considerably more. Average is around the 2 litres per day of combined fluids).

24 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Health Column – A basic shopping list for a nutritionally balanced diet.

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  9. Thanks for the information, Sally. I do pretty well with hitting all of the categories except for honey. I do not use sweeteners, and have found that leaving sugar out of most recipes doesn’t make a difference. Like salt, using little or no sugar is something our taste buds adjust to over time. Is there any nutritional value to using honey?

    Liked by 1 person

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