Make Your Next Meal Healthier
Your Current Dinner: Pan-fried tofu with brown rice, chickpeas, and red-pepper strips
Why It's Good: The tofu is a lean source of soy protein, which experts say you need to prevent heart disease. Brown rice has more cancer-fighting nutrients than white.
The Catch: You don't absorb as much protein from vegetable sources. And the rest of this dish is so boring and tasteless, we can't imagine you would prepare it more than once.Make It Over
- Include lean chicken, beef, or shrimp. "Only about 70 percent of the protein in plant sources gets absorbed and utilized, but you'll retain up to 90 percent of the protein in animal foods," explains Janet R. Hunt, PhD, RD, research leader at the Micronutrient Absorption and Metabolism Unit of the USDA-ARS Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center. Chicken is also a better source of many B vitamins and potassium. Tofu is an excellent alternative source of protein, but it shouldn't be your only one.
- Include a variety of veggies, herbs, and spices. Mixing vegetables may boost their antioxidant payoff, according to research from the University of California at Davis. "Every plate should look like the United Nations, showing as many colors as possible," says Grotto. There's another benefit too: "A healthy meal is only as good as it tastes."
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