So here’s the deal. I really really have the palette of a child. Like, I might be the world’s pickiest adult. I like basic food and tend to lean towards the same combination of meals each week. It works for me but I’m not going to lie, it makes getting in all of the nutrients I need as an adult that much more difficult.
I am working on trying to expand my palette and eat more things, especially now that I’ll be responsible for expanding my future daughter’s palette (how cool is that!). However, it’s a process so there are a few semi-sneaky tips I use on a regular basis to make sure I’m literally sneaking in the nutrients and good-for-me ingredients to fuel my body in every stage of life.
Whether you’re like me and struggle to get in enough protein or greens or are just looking for some new ideas for upping the nutrients in your diet, keep scrolling!
Tip No. 1 Add Collagen to EVERYTHING
I really struggle when it comes to getting enough protein on a daily basis. I’m not a vegetarian by any means but I don’t love the taste of meat – usually. I also don’t really enjoy the vegetarian friendly protein options. Don’t get me wrong, I try to make sure I have at least one serving of lean animal protein each day – my go-to’s are lean ground beef, gluten free chicken nuggets (I told you I was a child) or chicken sausage. But that serving alone is nowhere close to how much protein I should be getting each day.
To ensure I’m reaching my daily goals, protein powder and collagen are pantry staples I usually try to incorporate in at least one other meal and 1-2 snacks each day. I’ll use protein powder in a morning breakfast smoothie or mid-afternoon snack smoothie but collagen is usually my number one choice for boosting protein intake. I love the Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides because it’s flavorless and blends/combines well into everything making the options even more infinite.
Here are a few of the ways I add collagen to my favorite meals & snacks for that extra boost of protein:
- Overnight oats
- Pasta sauce
- Chia seed pudding
- Smoothie (I’ll do 1 scoop protein + 1 scoop collagen)
- Cereal milk – trust me on this one
- Salad dressing
Pro tip: I add one scoop of collagen to the items listed above and usually have a total of two scoops spread throughout the day – never more than that (VP suggests a general goal of 10-20g of collagen per day; each scoop is 10g). Consult with your doctor before adding any sort of supplement (including protein powders and collagen powders).
Tip No. 2 Balance Fruit with a Healthy Fat
Fruit has always been my favorite snack option, especially now that I’m pregnant. The only downside of fruit? The sugar. This is not to say you shouldn’t eat fruit or “can’t” eat fruit if you’re trying to live a balanced lifestyle/lose weight/etc. Fruit will continue to remain a daily staple in my diet but there’s a little trick I learned along the way to help balance my blood sugar and that’s FAT.
Yup, you read that correctly. Fat. Believe it or not, just like carbs, fat is not the enemy. Your body thrives on consuming some fat content – just make sure you’re leaning towards the good-for-you fats like olive oil, avocado, nut butters, etc.
Here are a few of the combinations I love:
- Apples and peanut butter
- Smoothie: strawberries blended with almond butter, ice, almond milk
- Smoothie: banana blended peanut butter, avocado, cocoa powder, ice, almond milk
- Pear slices and cheese
- Toast with peanut butter and banana slices
- Bagel with cream cheese and berries
Tip No. 3 Chia Seeds Are My Daily Hero
I have always had poor digestion and for the most part, the root cause was not getting enough fiber on a regular basis. I started adding chia seeds to at least one meal or snack per day and noticed such a big difference. In addition to the better digestion, I also notice that I stay full longer from meals or snacks when I add chia seeds which helps e cut back on the mindless snacking (disclaimer: shouldn’t have to say this but snacking isn’t the problem. You should ALWAYS listen to your hunger cues and eat when you’re hungry).
Chia seeds don’t have a taste and I actually love the texture the add to my favorite snacks and meals. Here are some of the ways I sneak this boost of fiber into my diet staples (I usually add 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of chia seeds):
- Mixed into overnight oats
- The main ingredient in chia seed pudding
- Blended into salad dressing or sprinkled on top of salad
- Blended into smoothies
- Sprinkled onto bagels with peanut butter or cream cheese
- On top of berries with coconut milk whipped cream
As always, please consult with your physician before making any dietary changes.