Healthy Eating Tips - Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

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Published on June 24, 2013

Healthy Eating Tips

If you want to improve your health, feel more energetic and even decrease reliance on medications, look no further than your own kitchen!

In ancient times, food was used as a way of healing. Today, the art of preparing food has fallen by the wayside, being replaced instead with processed and restaurant foods - often eaten in excess. The result: increased rates of obesity, diabetes and cancer.

But this trend can be reversed. Kris Multhauf, MS, RD, CD, registered dietitian with Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, offers the following tips for improving your health with smart diet and cooking tips this summer:

Grocery store tips

  1. Return to whole foods, or foods close to their natural state, such as eggs, legumes (dried beans, peas and lentils), grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean dairy, poultry and fish. These foods are not processed and do not contain artificial ingredients. For example, a baked chicken breast instead of chicken nuggets.
  2. The perimeter of the grocery store is the healthiest. Shop the perimeter for poultry, seafood and fish, including wild Alaskan salmon, eggs and dairy, fresh produce and grains.
  3. Reduce red meat.
  4. Select yogurt, eggs, and lean dairy (preferably hormone-, antibiotic- , and nitrite-free).
  5. Select vibrant colors of fruits and vegetables, and buy locally or organically grown.
  6. Select heart healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil, walnuts, flaxseeds and almonds.

Meal-time tips

  1. Eat moderately at regular times until you’re satisfied and not full.
  2. Go heavy on legumes, grains, fruits and vegetables. Include beans or lentils at least three to four times per week.
  3. Try a green salad with kidney beans, tomatoes, cheese and sun dried tomato dressing.
  4. Or crockpot chicken with tomatoes, onion, green chilies, garlic, and ginger. Perhaps a bowl of vegetarian chili with steamed carrots, feta cheese and dill, and apricots on the side.  
  5. Include both a fruit and a vegetable at every meal to strengthen your immune system.
  6. Satisfy your sweet tooth with strawberries dipped in dark chocolate, yogurt with dates, or baked apples with cinnamon and raisins. Use natural, unprocessed cocoa powder in hot chocolate, smoothies and coffee.
  7. Stay hydrated by drinking a glass of water in the morning, with and between meals to flush your system, remove toxins, aid in digestion and help kidneys. Flavor water with cucumber or lemon for better taste. Begin the day with a glass of water to flush out your body. Remember: Water helps every organ in the body. Dehydration can make you feel tired. If you consume beverages with caffeine, drink extra water to make up for diuretic effect

Cooking tips

  1. Use brown lentils in stews and red lentils in Indian dishes, or combine with paprika, cumin and sweet potatoes for a spicy hummus.
  2. Include grains such as quinoa, barley, bulgur, buckwheat and amaranth. Quinoa is versatile and high in protein. Store in the refrigerator, then rinse and prepare like rice with onion, leaks, red pepper or celery.  Add to salads or even serve for breakfast.
  3. Use bulgar and barley in stews or as a side. Try buckwheat and amaranth as breakfast cereals.
  4. Try tomato, onion, mozzarella cheese and avocado on spelt ancient grain bread.  
  5. Simmer peppers, garlic, kale and onion in vegetable broth. Or steam beets and serve with vinegar, oil and onions.
  6. Add spices for flavor and health benefits. Sprinkle turmeric on salads to decrease tumor formation. Add ¼ teaspoon cinnamon to cereals to help regulate blood sugar and reduce inflammation. Ginger curbs nausea, and may help arthritis. Sauté it with garlic, onion and red chili, and add squash to make a flavorful, nutritious soup. 
  7. Try bulk teas such as chia, green, Indian-spiced, turmeric ginger or red rooibos, a South African blend, for an extra dose of antioxidants.

Combining whole foods and spices to create flavorful, health-promoting meals is limited only by your imagination. Remember that food is powerful medicine!

Don't forget breakfast!

Breakfast is the healthiest meal of the day. Multhauf offers some unique healthy breakfast ideas to start your day off on the right note:

  • Vegetable and egg omelet with a bowl of blueberries.
  • Twelve-grain cereal with, walnuts or ground flax and cinnamon.
  • A smoothie with fruit, rice milk, protein powder and kale.
  • A bowl of warm buckwheat with dried cranberries, almonds, cinnamon and a touch of honey.
  • Quinoa mixed with milk, blackberries, pecans and honey.

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