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Adding Whole Foods to Your Diet
By Kate Safin, East End Food Co-op

Whole foods are those that are close to their natural form-think vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains without added ingredients. There is plenty of research that demonstrates diets rich in these types of foods are healthier. Adding more whole foods to your diet can be very easy, and it doesn’t mean you have to eat salads for every meal. Here are a few ways to get delicious, healthy whole foods into your daily routine.

Drink your fruits and veggies
Smoothies are a great way to add fruits and vegetables to your diet. Toss spinach into a blend of frozen fruit and yogurt or almond milk—you won’t even be able to taste that it’s there but you’ll reap all the benefits of consuming a full serving of greens. An easy smoothie base that you can adapt to your own preferences is: 1/2 frozen banana, 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of fresh or frozen fruit, a handful of fresh spinach.

Roast vegetables
You don’t have to be a master chef to make an incredible meal out of roasted vegetables. Cut up any veggies you like -sweet potatoes, peppers, mushrooms, carrots; toss them in olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Season will salt-free herbs and spices like rosemary and garlic. Roasted vegetables are delicious served over quinoa or brown rice (both whole foods!).

Smarter Snacks
An apple with almond or peanut butter is filling and includes-you guessed it—whole foods! Try to use nut butters without added sugars to ensure you are getting the healthiest option. Carrot sticks with hummus is another great snack.

Shopping for whole foods isn’t terribly hard if you remain in the fresh departments of the store. Spend time in the produce department especially and fill your shopping basket with colorful, healthy, and delicious whole fruits and vegetables. Try to avoid packaged items, especially those that include a long list of ingredients. If you’re new to whole grains, look for a store with a Bulk Food Department that allow you to purchase as much (or as little) as you want. This is a budget-friendly way to try new things and add healthier options to your meals.

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East End Food Co-op is the last natural foods co-op left in Pittsburgh from those original, back-to- nature stores. The Co-op offers all of the products of a full-service grocery store, but with a natural and local touch. For more information, visit www.eastendfood.coop.

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