Don’t avoid foods you can’t pronounce. Educate yourself!

As a retail dietitian, I get many questions about various “diets”. By “diets” I mean a set of rules that dictate our eating habits. There are many out there. The most popular now seem to be Paleo, nonGMO, clean eating and gluten-free.
With many of these diets the trend is to avoid any foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce or foods that grandma didn’t have in her kitchen.

Sounds simple enough and I do think that the concept comes from a good place. The goal is to minimize processing and artificial ingredients (which, for the most part is a good thing). However, there are many instances which these rules don’t apply.

Improving the quality of foods you eat is a great way to improve your nutrition. Knowing how to do that can be challenging. It seems everywhere you turn, the advice changes. Social media, TV, the gym and even well-meaning friends can all be misleading. Just like fad diets don’t work, there is no blanket statement that can define how we should eat. Educating yourself on each ingredient is the best way to choose a food.

To eat only eat foods that you can pronounce (or that were in your grandmother’s kitchen) would severely limit what you can choose. If you were to choose foods that fit the above criteria, you may be limiting some amazing (and nutritious foods). Think about foods and ingredients like arugula, quinoa, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), lactobacillus bulgaricus (good bacteria in yogurt), hummus, kohlrabi, amaranth, edamame, swai, kumquat, pummelo and kefir — just to name a few.

Instead of being scared away from foods that are unfamiliar, take time to educate yourself on how they are made and where they come from.

Try this delicious Roasted Edamame recipe for a protein-rich afternoon snack.
roasted edamame

Roasted Edamame

Serves 6 (1/2 cup each)
All you need:
1 1/2 tsp Hy-Vee chili powder
½ tsp thyme leaf
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
2 (12 oz each) pkgs frozen shelled edamame
2 tbsp olive oil

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl combine chili powder, thyme, garlic powder and salt. Add edamame and oil and mix well.
2. Spread beans in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring once, until edamame begins to brown.
Nutrition facts per serving: calories: 170, carbohydrate: 12g; protein: 12g, fat: 10g; sodium: 210mg; fiber: 6g


About thisRDeats

A mix of realism, humor, tips and delicious recipes. I am a mother, wife, passionate sewer and registered dietitian. I want to show people that food is medicine and getting back in the kitchen is the key to health. I love everything about food: gardening, shopping, cooking and most of all, EATING! Notice that "dishes" isn't on that list.... Food isn't perfect. It nourishes our minds, bodies and souls! As a blogger, journalist, speaker and broadcast professional, I enjoy talking about food and nutrition for websites, television, radio, magazines, and newspapers. I also work with companies to provide customized nutrition education and recipe development.
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